- CanREA’s 2050 Vision recommends Canada to ensure a 10-fold expansion of its solar and wind energy capacity by 2050 to meet its net zero goal
- It would mean annual additions of 3.8 GW wind and 1.6 GW solar till 2050, according to the analysts
- The association wants governments and relevant authorities in the country to take action by grid infrastructure strengthening and market friendly policies to encourage wind, solar and energy storage uptake
The Canadian Renewable Energy Association (CanREA) has come out with a new report saying that Canada needs to deploy 3.8 GW wind energy and 1.6 GW solar energy annually for next 29 years if it aims to achieve net zero target by 2050. With its current policies the country is clearly ‘not on a net-zero pathway’, it emphasized.
The Powering Canada’s Journey to Net-Zero: CanREA’s 2050 Vision outlines the steps Canadian governments, utilities, system operators and regulators need to take to deploy solar and wind energy ensuring a 10-fold expansion in a responsible and sustainable manner.
Together, wind and solar energy account for 178.48 GW capacity under CanREA’s 2050 Vision illustrative scenario, broken down as 109 GW wind (2019: 14 GW), and 47 GW solar (2019: 3 GW). The authors of the report see required build of the 2 renewable energy technologies on an average to grow over a 5-year period for the next 29 years with 27 GW. Compare this to 9.2 GW as the highest 5-year wind and solar addition ever in Canada that took place between 2011 and 2015.
Compare this also to negligible amounts of 389 MW of new wind (166 MW) and solar (233 MW) capacity installed in Canada in 2020. In 2021, CanREA expects the country to add 1 GW of new combined capacity.
On the other hand, the current policies under Canada Energy Regulator’s (CER) 2020 reference scenario forecast the combined capacity of wind and solar to add up to a total of 33.13 GW by 2050, whereas CER’s 2020 evolving policy scenario forecasts 60.73 GW by 2050. The evolving policy scenario counts the impact of continuing the historical trend of increasing global action on climate change.
CanREA argues that wind, solar and energy storage technologies will play a central role in driving rapid decarbonization and hence their massive expansion is a must for Canada to make net-zero a reality. “Our industries are up to the challenge, but require clear signals from governments, increased collaboration among electricity sector decision-makers, and immediate actions to address existing barriers to this urgent deployment,” said CanREA President and CEO Robert Hornung.
Through the 2050 Vision, CanREA demands the authorities to deliver on the following:
- Adopt a Clean Electricity Standard to put in place GHG emission limits that will require Canada’s electricity grid to be decarbonized by 2035.
- Modernize electricity markets and regulatory structures like ensuring economic value for services that maintain grid stability and security, while removing barriers to the participation of such technologies in the electricity system.
- Build more new wind, solar and energy storage assets through competitive procurement processes and encourage innovative procurement approaches to meet growing customer-driven demand.
- Prioritize efficient use and regional approaches to transmission infrastructure with an aim to minimize costs while expanding electricity production.
- Use decarbonized electricity to reduce GHG emissions in the country’s transportation, buildings and industry sectors while developing green hydrogen market.
Engie North America was quick to offer its support to CanREA’s proposals. In a statement issued, the utility company’s Chief Renewables Officer Dave Carroll called the recommendations ‘critical and practical’ and said the renewables deployment must be accompanied by the transformation of the electrical infrastructure and regulatory frameworks to meet the net zero aim for Canada.
The Complete 2050 Vision document is available on CanREA’s website for free viewing.