Greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) in Canada’s electricity sector have declined by 34 per cent since 2005 and further reductions are expected, says the Conference Board of Canada in a new report released on Tuesday.

Dr. Ovo Adagha

Dr. Ovo Adagha
Electricity sector undergoing fundamental transformation

“Canada-wide, the electricity sector is undergoing fundamental transformation. In each province, electricity generators are playing a leadership role in the move to a cleaner economy. Our report demonstrates the critical role that the electricity sector is already playing in reducing Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions,” said Dr. Ovo Adagha, the lead researcher on the project, in a news release.

“Every province can achieve results with a different plan of action, as evidenced in Nova Scotia, Ontario and Alberta. Provinces are capitalizing on their unique opportunities and challenges and creating bespoke roadmaps for future improvement.”

The Powering Down Emissions report studies Alberta, Ontario and Nova Scotia’s individual pathways to further reducing emissions in their electricity sectors – with a significant impact on the environment.

Key highlight about Alberta:

  • electricity demand in Alberta has grown 15 per cent since 2005;
  • despite rising demand, GHG emissions from Alberta’s electricity sector have declined over the past decade and fell by 5.4 per cent in 2016;
  • the decline in emissions can be attributed to a shift in Alberta’s generation capacity towards natural gas and renewable energy generation over time;
  • Alberta’s coal phase-out program will reduce coal-fired electricity generation capacity by 60 per cent in 2026, while GHG emissions levels will decline by 47 per cent between 2019 and 2030.

Key highlight about Ontario

  • In 2018 Ontario’s electricity demand rose by four per cent, after years of decline.
  • About 90 per cent of electricity in Ontario came from non-GHG-emitting sources in 2016
  • The phase out of coal-fired generation, infrastructure investments, and conservation have contributed to Ontario’s electricity sector GHG emissions declining by more than 80 per cent since 2005.
  • Ontario’s electricity sector emissions will decline by 17 per cent  between 2019 and 2030 due to gains in energy efficiency and growing relevance of energy storage technology.

Key highlight about Nova Scotia

  • Nova Scotia’s electricity demand has declined by eight per cent since 2005.
  • Over 70% of electricity generation in Nova Scotia is from hydrocarbon sources (coal, 62 per cent; natural gas, 16 per cent).
  • Nova Scotia’s electricity sector GHG emissions have fallen by more than 38 per cent since 2005 because of GHG reduction measures.
  • Nova Scotia’s electricity sector emissions will decline by about one-third by 2030 as a result of a move toward increased renewable energy production.

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