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article imageCanadian prairie provinces to lead in renewable energy growth

By Karen Graham     Mar 23, 2021 in Business
Calgary - Canada's Prairie Provinces will lead the country's growth in renewable energy capacity over the next three years, says a new report by the Canada Energy Regulator (CER).
The CER report looks at the current and future trends for nuclear energy, fossil fuels, and renewables - including solar, hydroelectricity, biomass, and geothermal, although the report does not breakdown the percentage of usage in the provinces relating to non-renewables versus renewables for transportation and heating.
It is anticipated that by the year 2023, fully 26 percent of Alberta's electricity capacity will come from renewable sources, up from 17 percent in 2017, reports Reuters. Neighboring Saskatchewan will also see renewable energy capacity jump to 33 percent from 25 percent over the same period.
Canada has an ambitious target in its plan to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. At the present time, power generation accounts for 9 percent of the country's total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, with coal and natural gas being the biggest contributors to GHG emissions.
According to CBC Canada, Alberta is responsible for over 50 percent of GHG emissions, followed by Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia. Alberta and Saskatchewan are in the process of phasing out coal-fired electricity generation, replacing it with natural gas, wind and solar.
Alberta will add nearly 2,000 megawatts of renewable power capacity between 2017 and 2023, while Saskatchewan will add 587 megawatts in that time, according to the CER "Canada's Renewable Power" report.
And overall, Canada's total installed renewable capacity will hit 71 percent in 2023, or 106,027 megawatts, up from 67 percent in 2018. But Canada is already a world leader in renewable power, generating almost two-thirds of its electricity from renewables with hydro as the dominant source.
This dominance in hydroelectric power is held by the provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec, Manitoba, and British Columbia, where up to 90 percent of their electricity is derived from renewables, or close to that percentage.
"When people think about the Prairies, many of them think about fossil fuels. Interestingly, our projections show they are actually now leading the way in renewable energy growth, while national levels will slow in the next three years," said Darren Christie, CER chief economist.
Canada is already in quite an enviable position," Christie said. "We're one of the top producers of renewable power in the world."
More about Alberta and Saskatchewan, Renewable energy, Canada Energy Regulator, wind and solar capacity, lowercarbon economy
 
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