Did You Know? Canada is a Global Leader in Renewable Energy!

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Did you know that Canada is a global leader in producing renewable energy such as hydro, wind and biofuels!? And it's all made possible by the abundance of resources found within the vast and diverse landscapes across our country!?

Canada is fortunate to have a vast endowment of natural resources. Our energy, mining, forestry and agricultural sectors are and have always been the backbone of our nation’s high standard of living and quality of life.

For generations, Canadians have been supplying our local communities and trading partners with everything needed to build a modern and prosperous society, including electricity generated from renewable sources such as wind, solar and biofuels.

Canada currently gets 67 per cent of its power supply from renewables. Also, we stand as the sixth-largest global electricity producer and export billions of dollars worth of renewable generation to the United States every year.

Canada’s Robust Electricity Trade

Canada's robust electricity trade with the United States

Minnesota, California, New York, and several other states purchase renewably generated power from Canada, displacing more greenhouse gas (GHG) intensive power generation and preventing the release of millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere every day.  

Cross-border transmission lines between Canada and the U.S. offer an opportunity to reduce global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions while benefitting Canadian families and governments from the jobs and revenues they create.

For example, the Manitoba-Minnesota Transmission Project (MMTP) - completed in 2020 after a decade of planning and regulatory hurdles - provides U.S. consumers with 500 kilovolts of renewable generation annually.

From 2010 and 2019, Manitoba earned $3.9 billion in revenues from power exports sent to states such as North Dakota and Minnesota but also to parts of Saskatchewan and Ontario. The MMTP’s completion is expected to increase Manitoba’s electricity export revenues, which in turn will be used to pay for things like healthcare, education and roads.

And Manitoba isn’t even the largest provincial provider of electricity to the U.S. Here are more examples of how Canada’s renewable energy leadership is having a positive effect on the global stage while benefitting Canadians at home.

Canada & U.S. Electricity Trade Facts

Canada's wind power capacity could supply electricity to 3.4 million homes across the country 2

  1. Canada exports about 8 per cent of the electricity it generates to the U.S. via 34 major transmission lines
  2. Canada exported a total of $69 billion of electricity to the U.S. between 2000-2019, including $3.1 billion in 2019
  3. From 2012-2017, about 70 per cent of electricity export volumes came from eastern Canada, with the remaining 30% from the west
  4. Most eastern Canadian electricity exports are from Quebec and Ontario to New York and Vermont, while most Western Canadian exports are from British Columbia and Manitoba to California, Minnesota and North Dakota
  5. Quebec is by far the largest electricity exporter to the U.S., which generates more than 99 per cent of its power supply from renewable sources such as hydro
  6. Electricity exports added $3.6 billion to the Quebec Government’s revenues in 2019
  7. British Columbia is Western Canada’s largest exporter of electricity - a province that also gets >99 per cent of its power from non-emission sources - with 79 per cent of its exports sent to California in 2016

Sources: Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Energy Centre

Canadian Renewable Energy Facts

Canada's Solar Capacity has grown by 181 times between 2005-2018 2

  1. Canada is the 7th largest producer of renewable energy in the world, including the:
    1. 4th largest hydropower producer (2020)
    2. 8th largest wind power producer (2019)
    3. 9th largest biofuels producer (2019)
  2. Canada currently gets roughly 67 per cent of its electricity needs from renewable sources - 60 per cent from hydropower, and another 7 per cent from non-hydro renewables such as wind, solar and biofuels
  3. In 2018, Canada got 16.3 per cent of its total primary energy supply from renewables, higher than the OECD average of 10.5 per cent and the global average of 13.4 per cent
  4. Renewable electricity generation in Canada grew 16 per cent between 2010 and 2018, with wind and solar seeing the largest growth
  5. From 2000-2018, GHG emissions from electricity generation dropped by 50 per cent in Canada, largely a result of switching to renewable sources
  6. In 2017, six Canadian provinces and territories generated more than 94 per cent of their electricity demand from renewable sources
  7. Six out of every 10 Canadian homes and businesses are powered by hydroelectricity

Sources: Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Wind Energy Association, International Hydropower Association

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Whether it be displacing more GHG-intensive power generation in the U.S., or reducing emissions right here at home in Canada, we can all agree that Canadian renewable energy is world-class and a positive force in the fight against climate change.

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