Hydro’s heft helps Canada stay powered up

Two-thirds of Canadian electricity supply now from renewables, says NEB report

Renewable energy now accounts for two-thirds of Canada’s electricity supply—and we have running water to thank for it.

Buoyed by an industry that produced 10 percent of the world’s hydroelectric power in 2015, Canada’s renewable energy production jumped 17% between 2005 and 2015, according to a report released by the National Energy Board.

“Probably very few people would know Canada produces the second most hydro in the world,” NEB chief economist Shelley Milutinovic told the Globe and Mail.

“Canada’s hydro generation has allowed the country to be one of the global leaders in renewable energy for years,” she added. “Now, as solar, wind and other technologies become more cost competitive, we expect to see a continuing increase in their adoption in the future.”

According to the NEB, Canada produced more than 600 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity in 2015—as much as countries with much larger populations such as Germany, Brazil and France.

The NEB report tells us that in 2015:

  • 60% of Canada’s electricity was generated by hydro;
  • 4.4% was generated by wind;
  • 1.9% was generated by biomass (primarily solid biomass, such as wood pellets and chips); and
  • 0.5% was generated by solar.

From 2005 to 2015, wind energy made the biggest gains, moving from less than 2,000 gigawatt hours (GWh), or 0.5% of Canada’s power generation total, to 28,500 GWh, or 4.4% of the total.

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