Renewable Energy in Canada: 75+ Facts

renewable energy facts canada

Did you know that Canada is a global leader in renewable energy and has been for many years? As the second largest country in the world, Canada's diversified geography has substantial renewable resources such as moving water, solar, wind, biomass, geothermal and coastal tides that can be utilized to produce energy.

Not many Canadians know that our nation already gets 67 per cent of its electricity demand from renewables, or that more than 16 per cent of our country's total primary energy supply is from renewable sources which is much higher than the average among OECD nations. And we haven't even touched the tip of the ice berg of facts regarding renewables in Canada, so don't go anywhere just yet.

We've coaxed over as many sources as we could find to compile a gigantic list of renewable energy facts in Canada, some of which you may be surprised to learn about. Here we go!

75+ Clean Energy Facts in Canada

Canada's Source of Electricity Among World's Top 4 Electricity Producers

Renewable Electricity Generation: Canada vs. Others - NRC

General Renewable Facts

#1 - Compared to the top four electricity generating nations of the world (above), Canada gets a much larger share of its own total electricity demand from renewable sources (NRC)

#2 - Canada got 16.3 per cent per cent of its total primary energy supply from renewables in 2018, higher than the OECD average of 10.5 per cent and the world average of 13.4 per cent (NRC)

#3 - Canada currently gets about 67 per cent of its electricity needs from renewable sources such as wind, solar, hydro, and biofuels (NRC)

#4 - Canada was the 7th largest producer of renewable energy in the world in 2018

#5 - Between 2010 and 2018, renewable electricity generation across the country increased 16 per cent, with wind and solar having the largest growth

#6 -  As a net exporter of electricity with most generation coming from non-emission sources, Canada helps eliminate millions of tons of CO2 emissions annually by displacing more GHG-intensive generation in the United States (Canada Hydro)

#7 - Clean energy employed more than 120,600 people across Canada in 2018 (NRC)

#8 - From 2000 to 2018, emissions from electricity production decreased by 50 per cent in Canada largely as a result of transferring generation to renewable sources (NRC)

#9 - Canada was the world's 3rd largest exporter of electricity in 2018, most of which is generated by renewables (NRC)

#10 - Six Canadian provinces and territories generated more than 94 per cent of their electricity demand from renewable sources in 2017 (IHA)

Hydropower Facts

Map of Hydropower Plants in Canada 2017

Canadian Hydro Plants (2017) - NEB

#11 - Canada was the world’s 4th largest producer of hydropower in 2019 (IHA)

#12 - Six out of every 10 Canadian homes and businesses are powered by hydropower (IHA)

#13 - Water is the most important renewable energy source in Canada, accounting for roughly 60 per cent of our nation's total electricity generation supply

#14 - Hydropower accounts for nearly 68 per cent of Canada's total renewable energy production (NRC)

#15 - Canada has been developing its water resources to produce clean, sustainable, reliable and affordable electricity for nearly 140 years (IHA)

Wind & Solar Power Facts

#16 - In 2019, Canada had the 8th largest installed onshore wind power capacity in the world (NRC)

#17 - More wind energy has been built in Canada between 2009 and 2019 than any other form of electricity generation (CANWEA)

#18 - Between 2010 and 2018, wind power generation nearly quadrupled in Canada (NRC)

#19 - As of December 2020, Canada was home to 307 wind farms including a few projects in the northern territories (CREA)

#20 - By the end of 2018, Canada had approximately 12,816 MW of installed wind capacity, generating enough electricity to power about 3.3 million homes – or 6 per cent of the country’s total electricity demand (CANWEA)

#21 - In 2018, six major wind farms were completed that represented over $1 billion of investment and added 566 MW of new installed capacity to Canada’s renewable electricity grid (CANWEA)

#22 - In 2019, Canada’s wind generation grew by 597 megawatts (MW) spread among 5 new wind energy projects, representing an investment of over $1 billion (CANWEA)

wind solar power growth canada

Wind & Solar Growth in Canada - CREA

#23 - Canada's wind energy sector has attracted more than $23 billion investment to date (CANWEA)

#24 - Canada's wind sector created over 58,000 person years of employment in construction and operations alone (CANWEA)

#25 - In 2019, the wind power sector in Canada directly benefited more than 299 communities in 12 provinces and territories, including involvement with more than 35 Indigenous communities (CANWEA)

#26 - Canada ranked 19th in the world for installed solar energy capacity in 2019

#27 - Canada’s installed solar power capacity has grown from 16.7 MW in 2005 to 3,040 MW in 2018 (NRC)

#28 - There are more than 43,000 solar energy installations across the country (CREA)

#29 - Canada is home to more than 138 solar PV farms with at capacity of at least 1 MW, totalling over 1,700 MW nationwide (NRC)

#30 - The largest solar power project in Canada is currently underway in Alberta, which will generate enough electricity to power 100,000 homes when operational

Biomass Facts

#30 - More than 23 per cent of Canada's total renewable energy production is generated by solid biomass, second only to hydro

#31 - In 2018, Canada was home to 36 operational co-generation units at pulp and paper mills and had 41 Independent power providers using biomass (NRC)

#32 - In 2019, Canada had the 8th largest capacity of liquid biofuels in the world

Canadian Renewable Facts by Province

Canadian Renewable Energy Projects Under Construction

British Columbia Renewable Facts

#33 - British Columbia is powered predominantly by 21 large scale hydroelectric facilities and 7 small scale hydroelectric facilities, generating a staggering 10,829 MW of clean, emissions-free electricity which powers 1.9 million homes across the province (BCSEA)

#34 - Today, approximately 99 per cent of British Columbia’s electricity is generated from renewable sources (NRC)

#35 - Site C is a new hydro facility which upon completion will add another 1,100 MW of generating capacity to the province’s already expansive renewable portfolio (CER)

#36 - Between 2005 and 2015, British Columbia added an additional 2,800 MW of renewable electricity generating capacity mostly through new hydro facilities (CER)

#37 - Between 2005 and 2015, B.C. wind capacity grew from 0 to 488 MW, spread across 5 wind farms (CER, BCSEA)

#38 - Between 2005 and 2015, biomass capacity in British Columbia grew by 9 per cent while accounting for about 6 per cent of total electricity generation in 2016 (CER)

Alberta Renewable Facts

#39 - By 2025, Alberta is projected to be the leading province in both wind and solar capacity across Canada (CBC)

#40 - In 2016, Alberta generated approximately 12 per cent of its total electricity generation, about a two-fold increase from a decade prior (CER)

#41 - In 2014, Western Canada’s largest wind farm was built in Alberta, resulting in GHG emission reductions equivalent to taking 120,000 cars off the road per year (CANWEA)

#42 - A handful of new solar power farms are planned or underway in Alberta which together will generate nearly 650 megawatts of added renewable electricity and introduce emission reductions equivalent to removing well over 150,000 cars off the road per year (Greengate Power, Berkshire Hathaway, Obton A/S)

#43 - Alberta currently is home to the 3rd largest wind capacity in Canada with 37 projects generating about 1,500 MW of electricity each year (CANWEA)

Saskatchewan & Manitoba Renewable Facts

#44 - In 2016, Saskatchewan got approximately 17 per cent of its total electricity generation from renewable sources with hydro and wind accounting for the lion’s share (CER)

#45 - In 2015 SaskPower, Saskatchewan’s principal electric company which owns most capacity generation, set a target of 50 per cent renewable power by 2030 (CER)

#46 - Today, Manitoba generates nearly 100 per cent of its electricity demand from renewable sources (CER)

#47 - Manitoba currently has more than 15 major hydro power facilities with even more new plants coming online in the near future (CER)

#48 - Manitoba has one of the lowest greenhouse gas intensive electricity generation in the country, with just 3.4 grams of GHG per kilowatt-hour (kW.h), versus the nationwide average of 140 grams of GHG/kW.h

#49 - Manitoba has a major opportunity to reduce global GHG emissions further by replacing more emission-intensive power generation in neighbouring provinces and states south of the border (CER)

Ontario Renewable Facts

Canadian solar power capacity has grown immensely between 2005-2017

#50 - In 2015, Ontario generated over 1/3rd of its electricity from renewable sources, up from 23 per cent in 2005 (CER)

#51 - Solar and wind generation increased from nearly zero in 2005 to about 2 and 6 per cent of total generation by 2015, respectively (CER)

#52 - Ontario was the leading province for wind capacity with 4,374 MW in 2015, up from 15 MW in 2005 (CER)

#53 - Ontario also leads all provinces for solar capacity with 2,119 MW in 2015, up from just 17 MW in 2005 (CER)

#54 - Today, nuclear power, a non-emission form of energy, generates about 60 per cent of Ontario’s total electricity demand (OPG)

#55 - Ontario is one of the top 20 solar electricity markets based on solar installation capacity

Quebec Renewable Facts

#56 - Quebec generates nearly 100 per cent of its electricity needs from renewable sources, with hydro accounting for the lion’s share of that generation (CER)

#57 - Quebec’s installed renewable capacity reached 43,719 MW in 2015, up from 36,959 MW in 2005 (CER)

#58 - Quebec currently has 36.8 gigawatts (GW) of installed hydropower and is home to the 4th largest network of hydropower generating stations in the world (Hydro Quebec, Canadian Encyclopedia)

#59 - Quebec’s installed wind power also increased to 3,262 MW in 2015, up from just 207 MW in 2005 (CER)

#60 - Quebec exports massive amounts of electricity to Ontario, New Brunswick, New York State, New England and other jurisdictions, with 8,200 MW of total export capacity and growing (CER)

#61 - By 2030, Quebec plans to reduce its total GHG emissions by 16 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent, as outlined in “The 2030 Energy Policy – Energy in Quebec: A Source of Growth” (CER)

#62 - The wind industry in Quebec employs 5,000 full-time workers, whose average annual salary is 30 per cent higher than the Quebec average (CANWEA)

Atlantic Provinces Renewable Facts

#63 - In 2015, Newfoundland & Labrador saw more than 95 per cent of electricity generation come from renewable sources (CER)

#64 - Newfoundland & Labrador currently has new major hydro power facilities underway like Muskrat Falls for example, which will add over 820 more MWs of generation to the province’s renewable capacity (CER)

#65 - In 2015, renewables accounted for 31 per cent of New Brunswick’s total power capacity (CER)

#66 - By 2020, New Brunswick plans to meet 40 per cent of its total electricity demand with renewable sources (CER)

#67 - Between 2005 and 2015, Nova Scotia’s share of electricity generation from renewables grew from 12 to 24 per cent, respectively (CER)

#68 - Nova Scotia has the second largest share of provincial electricity supply from wind power across the country - at nearly 12 per cent.

#69 - In 2010, Nova Scotia adopted a motion called “Renewable Electricity Standard” with the goal of getting 40% of its electricity demand from renewable sources by 2020 - although in 2019 it got about 30 per cent of its total demand from renewables (CER)

#70 - Nova Scotia plans on developing its tidal power capacity with several new permits issued for projects in the Bay of Fundy in 2019 (CBC)

#71 - Prince Edward Island gets more than 98 per cent of its electricity supply from wind

Canadian Territories Renewable Facts

#72 - In 2019, the Yukon obtained 84 per cent of its electricity supply from hydro

#73 - The Yukon relies mainly on three hydro generating stations for its electricity supply, with four diesel generators as back up

#74 - The Northwest Territories gets nearly 38 per cent of its electricity supply from hydropower

#75 - The Northwest Territories is a prime candidate for developing geothermal wells

Current Canadian Renewable Energy ProjectsCanadian renewable energy projects 2019 - 2023

Canada currently has several renewable energy projects underway which will add thousands more megawatts to the electricity grid (map below shows new projects between 2019-2023). See a full list of renewable projects to come by 2023 here:

Canada is a Global Leader in Renewables

If the 75 facts on renewables in Canada didn't make you a believer in our global leadership on clean energy, then we don't know what will! 

Canadians need to start recognizing that our country is world-class when it comes to emission reductions through renewable energy and new clean tech / innovation. We are global leaders in renewable energy and should be proud of that fact.

We invite you to join us online to learn more about Canada's world-class energy sector at Twitter, Instagram and Facebook today! See how you can take part in our growing movement to support Canada's natural resource sectors and the jobs and prosperity that come with. We hope to see you there!

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