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Clean electricity can unlock affordable and secure energy: Canadian Climate Institute report

The most significant barriers to the big electrification switch are social, political, and institutional.

May 4, 2022   by CM Staff

How household energy use will change to support Canada’s net zero targets.

OTTAWA — A new report finds that modernizing Canada’s electricity systems can reportedly play a central role in ensuring affordable, secure energy in the face of global volatility — while also advancing Canada’s climate goals. With co-ordinated federal and provincial action, a “big switch” from fossil fuels to clean electricity can make energy more affordable while laying the foundation for a prosperous future.

The report from the Canadian Climate Institute, The Big Switch: Powering Canada’s net zero future, finds that without co-ordinated action from provincial and federal governments to build bigger, cleaner, and smarter electricity systems, Canada’s low-carbon transition could be much bumpier. The report says that the technologies needed are available and affordable, and the policy solutions are readily at hand.

Key findings of the report include:

  • The big switch will increase affordability for Canadians when it’s powered by the right policies. Rapidly declining costs of renewables and storage makes electricity more affordable than volatile fossil fuels. Smart, co-ordinated policy can build the bigger, cleaner, and smarter electricity systems that can power this promise.
  • Aligning electricity systems with net zero—by making them bigger, cleaner, and smarter—is both necessary and achievable. These systems can reliably and affordably power Canada’s economy and the broader transition to net zero.
  • The most significant barriers to the big switch are social, political, and institutional. Policy needs to address both the technical and non-technical barriers to the deployment and uptake of key solutions.

“The big switch from fossil fuels to clean electricity is key to reducing Canada’s emissions. Making our electricity systems bigger, cleaner and smarter to deliver on this is completely feasible—and Canada already has a head start. With co-ordinated action by federal and provincial governments, Canadians can power more and more of their lives using clean, affordable, and reliable electricity.” said Jason Dion, lead author and Director of Mitigation Research, Canadian Climate Institute.

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“Energy security, energy affordability, and climate change are all top of mind for Canadians right now. The big switch to clean electricity can help with all three, if we move quickly and get the policies right. The path is clear, the technology is affordable and available, and the benefits are considerable. Co-ordinated action from federal and provincial governments is how we get there.” said Rick Smith, President, Canadian Climate Institute.