Market Snapshot: Canadian electricity generation projected to evolve toward lower emission fuel sources

Release date: 2016-12-08

The NEB’s Canada’s Energy Future 2016: Update (2016 Update) projects annual Canadian electricity demand to increase by 386 terawatt hours (TW.h) by 2040, a 19% increase from 2015. Capacity gaps created by this additional demand, as well as likely facility retirements in the coming years, are expected to be filled primarily by more renewable and natural gas-fired generation.

Wind, solar, hydro, and biomass account for 26.5 gigawatts (GW) or 58% of the 45.8 GW of new capacity required. The remaining 42% or 19.5 GW is projected to be primarily from new natural gas-fired generation. Capacity retirements over the projection period, which amount to 14.1 GW, are primarily related to coal (8.5 GW), nuclear (3.2 GW), and natural gas (1.6 GW). Some oil-fired generation (0.7 GW) is also retired. Net additions to generating capacity over the projection period amount to 31.7 GW.

Source and Description

Source: NEB - Canada’s Energy Future 2016: Update

Description: This stacked bar chart illustrates future additions and retirements in Canadian generating capacity. Generating capacity additions total 45.8 GW, of which 26.5 GW is from renewables (including wind, solar, and hydro) and 19.5 GW from thermal fuels (primarily natural gas, with small additions from oil and coal). Generating capacity retirements total 14.1 GW and come entirely from thermal sources (primarily coal, with some nuclear, natural gas, and oil).

Non-hydro renewables more than double over the projection period, increasing from 15 GW to 33 GW. Substantial cost declines are an important driver behind this growth, which is expected to substantially change Canada’s current renewable power landscape. In contrast, coal’s share of capacity drops from 7% in 2015 to 1% in 2040.Footnote 1 This decrease is driven primarily by policy direction away from coal-fired generation.

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