In a groundbreaking revelation, the Canadian Renewable Energy Association (CanREA) announced a robust 11.2% growth in Canada’s wind, solar, and energy storage sectors in 2023. The annual industry data report showcases a remarkable addition of 2.3 GW of new installed capacity, propelling the nation to a total of 21.9 GW. The surge signifies a pivotal step towards Canada’s ambitious 2035 and 2050 net-zero targets.
Alberta’s remarkable year
Alberta emerges as the frontrunner, contributing an astounding 92% to Canada’s overall growth in renewables and energy storage capacity. The province witnesses steady growth in both solar and wind, adding 1.7 GW to reach a total of 5.8 GW of renewable energy generation. The pause on approvals in August 2023 raises concerns for 2025 and beyond, impacting 8.3 GW of projects under development.
Growth in the North
The Northern territories, particularly Yukon and the Northwest Territories, will witness substantial growth in 2023. Wind power in Yukon jumps from 0.2 MW to 4 MW, while the Northwest Territories add 3.2 MW in Inuvik. The data team is tracking 1.5 MW of advanced development projects, signaling a positive outlook for utility-scale solar and hybrid solar/storage projects.
Saskatchewan reveals its potential with 200 MW of projects under construction, 800 MW of wind and solar projects, and a 20 MW battery site in advanced stages of development. The province’s longer-term outlook includes significant wind and solar projects expected to be in service by 2027, marking a strategic move towards renewable energy.
Ontario maintains its position as Canada’s leader with 7.5 GW of installed capacity. While 2023 shows no increase, the province gears up for a storage revolution with 429 MW of advanced development projects. Future prospects include up to 2 GW of new wind and solar by 2030-2031 and an additional 3 GW by 2034.
Quebec, with over 4 GW of wind and solar capacity, focuses on the Apuiat project, set to add 200 MW in 2024. Hydro-Quebec’s Action Plan aims to triple wind-power generation, integrating 8 GW of wind capacity by 2030. The province plans to establish a 1 GW pumped-storage facility and facilitate solar panel installations for over 125,000 customers by 2035.
British Columbia currently holds 746 MW of capacity, with plans to acquire 3,000 GWh of renewable energy per year, set to be revealed in 2024. The province aligns itself with the broader vision of sustainable energy.
Parts of Atlantic Canada experience notable growth, with New Brunswick adding 42 MW of wind and PEI contributing 31 MW of utility-scale solar. CanREA tracks 296 MW of projects in advanced development, promising a substantial increase in renewable energy in the coming years.
Growth in renewable energy and energy storage not only fuels sustainability but also serves as a catalyst for job creation. In 2023, the sector accounted for over 4,950 person-years of employment, reflecting an 11% increase from the previous year. As Canada aligns with its net-zero commitments, the industry’s positive implications on the economy continue to unfold.
In 2024, CanREA commits to advocating for policy and regulatory changes, focusing on jurisdictions with the greatest potential for growth. The aim is to unlock the enormous opportunities offered by renewable energy and energy storage for the benefit of all Canadians.
As per CanREA’s 2023 data, there is potential for Canada to reach nearly 58 GW of renewable energy and energy storage capacity by 2035. However, this falls short of the global goal set by COP28 to triple renewables by 2030. CanREA’s 2050 Vision emphasizes the need to deploy over 5 GW of new wind and solar energy annually to meet net-zero GHG emissions commitments.
Canada’s renewable energy landscape, as depicted by CanREA’s 2023 report, signifies not only growth but also the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. With a collective effort and strategic planning, the nation is poised to emerge as a global leader in sustainable energy, contributing significantly to the worldwide transition to a greener future.
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