Take a bow, Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia. Thanks to policy leadership in your provinces—and savvy business decisions across the country—in the past five years Canada has seen its capacity to produce pollution-free electricity increase by 8 gigawatts, enough to power 2.7 million Canadian homes. Put another way, every minute another household in Canada could be powered by 100 percent renewable energy.
Renewable energy investment and production is powering up the charts, along with sales of related products and services. In the past five years, investors have moved $25 billion into the sector, spurring a 37 percent employment increase.
So finds Tracking the Energy Revolution — Canada [report download, 7MB], the first annual status report on the national shift to clean energy.
The graphical report details key policies, investments and projects in each of Canada’s provinces and regions, and profiles private-sector success stories. Its key findings include:
- Wind, solar, run-of-river, and biomass capacity have nearly doubled in the past five years.
- Large hydro remains the foundation of Canada’s electricity system, providing 85 percent of all renewable electricity capacity, and continues to grow.
- In 2013 Canada hit a record high, putting up one new wind turbine every 10 hours.
- Cumulative investment in Canada’s clean energy sector amounted to $25 billion over the past five years.
- In 2013, Canada jumped from 12th to seventh place in the G20 for clean- energy investment.
- Clean energy jobs are growing incredibly fast. In 2013 thirty-seven percent more Canadians worked in the renewable energy industry than in 2009.
- As a result, by 2013 the clean energy sector—encompassing manufacturing, power production, energy efficiency, and biofuels—accounted for more direct Canadian jobs than the oil sands.
- With growing selection, incentives, and public-charging networks, electric vehicle sales doubled between 2012 and 2013.
- While a few provinces are out front on the energy revolution, other jurisdictions, such as Alberta, Saskatchewan, and a seemingly indifferent federal government are not yet pursuing their opportunities with the necessary vigour to unlock our clean energy potential.
In contrast with action in Washington, DC, Canada’s federal government has yet to assume a leadership role in fostering the clean energy sector. To address this, we lay out key federal policy recommendations that would bolster and complement provincial action.
These include direct federal support for power storage and clean energy infrastructure, and a national price on carbon pollution to level the playing field between clean energy and fossil fuels.
Tracking the Energy Revolution—Canada is the second of a two-part series; the preceding report, released in September, surveyed the state of the global energy transition.