NEB releases report on Canada's transition to low-emission energy sources
Canada's transition to low-emission energy sources is underway but it remains one of the most emission-intensive nations in the world, according to a new report released by the National Energy Board.
The Canada's Energy Transition report identifies that while energy and emissions intensities have been declining, Canada still needs to substantially reduce its emissions intensity and energy use in order to transition to a low-carbon economy.
"The drive to reduce GHG emissions is a global focus and Canada's energy transition to a lower-carbon economy faces a variety of challenges and uncertainties. Our report provides an overview for Canadians on how the pace of change in energy markets, policy and technology may impact Canada's energy transition," said Jean-Denis Charlebois, Chief Economist, National Energy Board.
The ability for Canada to transition to a low-carbon economy will depend primarily on three key areas identified in the report: decarbonizing the electricity grid; transforming the transportation sector; and, increasing energy efficiency through behavioural and technological changes.
As Canada continues to use energy more efficiently while continuing to decarbonize the electricity sector, the trends of declining energy and emissions intensities are expected to continue.
According to the NEB report, the pace in which Canada transitions to a low-carbon economy is the largest uncertainty. This will be dictated by technological developments, consumer preferences and government policies.
- Under the Paris Agreement, Canada has committed to reducing its GHG emissions by 30 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030. This means a reduction of GHG emissions from 704 MT to 513 MT.
- The transportation sector accounts for about 65-70 per cent of Canada's total oil demand while the oil and gas sector accounts for about 50 per cent of Canadian natural gas demand.
- Hydro, renewables and natural gas will lead the growth in total Canadian electricity generation, while coal and nuclear generation will see a decline over the next 20 years.
- The NEB's latest Energy Futures report projects that Canada's fossil fuel use per $ of GDP will fall 30 to 50 per cent by 2040, depending on assumptions on technology, policy and efficiency improvements.
- Over 75 per cent of Canada's end-use energy needs come from fossil fuels (refined petroleum products and natural gas).
- Though a relatively small emitter of GHGs, Canada ranks among the highest in the world for energy and emissions intensity because of its large industrial base and energy industry, as well as its cold climate and vast geography.