Renewable Energy in Ontario: 15 Facts
Did you know that Ontario is a leader in renewable energy?! The province has a diverse array of renewable energy systems in place that account for roughly one-third of its electricity supply, powering the lives of millions of Canadians.
Whether it be hydro, solar, wind, nuclear, biofuel or another form of renewable energy, Ontario has shown exemplary leadership in non-emission electricity generation time and time again. For example, about 40 of Ontario's hydropower facilities have been in operation for over 100 years!
Today, Ontario’s renewable energy sector is seeing strong growth as power demand continues to grow within the province. As early as 2030, the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) suggests that Ontarians will need an additional 6,000 megawatts (MW) in new capacity to keep up with demand, providing an incredible opportunity for the province to continue expanding its renewable energy systems.
All Canadians should be proud of Ontario’s leadership in renewables. We sure are, which is why we have cumulated these 15 facts on renewable energy in Ontario for you below. Also see:
- Renewable Energy in Canada: 75+ Facts
- How Fossil Fuels Make Renewable Energy Possible
- Renewable Energy in British Columbia: 15 Facts
- Renewable Energy in Quebec: 15 Facts
Ontario Renewable Energy Facts
#1 - In 2019, about 92% of electricity in Ontario was produced from zero-carbon sources: 
> 59% from nuclear
> 24% from hydro
> 8% from wind
> 1% from solar
#2 - Ontario was home to about 97% of Canada’s solar power in 2019, with 2,670 MW of installed capacity 
#3 - Ontario generated roughly a quarter of its electricity from renewable sources in 2010. By 2018, Ontario’s generation from renewables had grown by more than 50% per cent over 2010 levels 
#4 - All of Ontario’s electricity needs were met by hydroelectric generation up until the late 1950s 
#5 - Ontario is home to more than 224 operational hydroelectric facilities across the province
#6 - More than 40 of Ontario's hydropower facilities have been in operation for over 100 years 
#7 - Currently, there is roughly 9,000 MW of existing hyrdopower in Ontario, with more than 5,000 MW of potential hydroelectric sources have been found for for future projects 
#8 - As early as 2030, the province will need an additional 6,000 MW in new capacity to meet demand 
#9 - With 2,663 wind turbines - or about 40% Canada’s total - Ontario has the most out of any province as of 2020 
#10 - Ontario is home to six of Canada’s 20 ethanol production facilities - roughly 30% of those found in the country 
#11 - Ontario is home to five out of ten biodiesel facilities - about 50% of those found in Canada 
#12 - Ontario’s bioenergy advantage stems from the fact that extensive research and development is performed at 20 universities (18 of Canada’s top 50) and 24 colleges, while Canada is home to a globally recognized agri-innovation cluster 
#13 - Ontario has one biomass power station. The 205 MW Atikokan Generating Station was converted from coal to biomass in 2014 
#14 - The Atikokan Generating Station is the largest 100 per cent biomass-fueled plant in North America 
#15 - CHAR Technologies’ facility in Thorold is the only renewable natural gas (RNG) facility in the country to exclusively use wood biomass 
The Future of Ontario Renewables
Renewable energy growth in Ontario is reflected in the province’s goals for increasing its wind, solar, and biofuel capacities.
From 2010 to 2017, Ontario saw an increase of 7,152 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy capacity, with a major emphasis on wind (3,668 MW) and solar (2,299 MW). It is estimated that from 2017 to 2023, the province will add an additional 466 MW of net renewable capacity .
With continued growth in renewable energy sources as a means of climate action, Ontario has a significant opportunity to expand its capacity for wind, solar, hydro and other emerging technologies of the sort.
In 2020, the federal government introduced legislation that would lay down a pathway towards net zero emissions by 2050, a goal fully supported by the Ontario Energy Association that will be attained through the continued development if its non-emission energy sources
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If the critical minerals needed for wind, solar and battery technologies continue to come from just a few sources, the world will be beholden to those powers as much as Europe was to Russia for natural gas — executive director of the IEA https://t.co/CeGm30K5gH— Canada Action (@CanadaAction) February 2, 2023
1 - CER - Provincial and Territorial Energy Profiles: Ontario. Date accessed: January 2023 (https://www.cer-rec.gc.ca/en/data-analysis/energy-markets/provincial-territorial-energy-profiles/provincial-territorial-energy-profiles-ontario.html#:~:text=In%202019%2C%20about%2092%25%20of,natural%20gas%20and%20some%20biomass)
2 - CER - Canada's Renewable Power – Ontario. Date accessed: January 2023 (https://www.cer-rec.gc.ca/en/data-analysis/energy-commodities/electricity/report/canadas-renewable-power/provinces/renewable-power-canada-ontario.html)
3 - OPG - Biomass Power. Date accessed: January 2023 (https://www.opg.com/powering-ontario/our-generation/biomass/)
4 - Government of Ontario - Ontario and Canada Investing in Clean Energy Production Using Forest Biomass. Date accessed: January 2023 (https://news.ontario.ca/en/release/1002588/ontario-and-canada-investing-in-clean-energy-production-using-forest-biomass)
5 - Ontario Waterpower Association - Fast Facts. Date accessed: January 2023 (https://www.owa.ca/education/fast-facts/)
6 - Sask Today - Here’s where to find every wind turbine in Canada. Date accessed: January 2023 (https://www.sasktoday.ca/central/local-news/heres-where-to-find-every-wind-turbine-in-canada-4157531)
7 - Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs - Ontario’s Bio ADvantage Sector Profile, Date Accessed: February 2023 (http://omafra.gov.on.ca/english/research/ktt/spot-bioenergy.htm)
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