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Outlook for Canadian energy relies on pipeline availability, natural gas: CER

Outlook for Canadian energy relies on pipeline availability, natural gas: CER

The Canada Energy Regulator (CER) has released its long-term energy outlook that explores how new technologies, infrastructure developments and climate policy will impact Canadian energy consumption and production trends over the next 20 years.

Canada's Energy Future 2019: Energy Supply and Demand Projections to 2040 shows that while domestic fossil fuel consumption growth slows, crude oil and natural gas production continues to increase. The potential for LNG exports is an important driver of natural gas production while oil production growth is led by new phases of existing in-situ projects.

The report's baseline outlook relies on a current economic outlook, a moderate view of energy prices, and climate and energy policies currently in place.

Canadian oil pricing and production trends will rely heavily on the availability of export pipeline and rail capacity. If approved pipeline projects (Trans Mountain, Keystone XL, Line 3) proceed as announced, along with continued volumes of crude by rail, there will be sufficient takeaway capacity to accommodate production growth over the next 20 years.

Regional differences across the country continue to drive the diversity of Canada's electricity production. Natural gas and renewables will be used to displace coal-fired electricity generation, which in turn will help lower Canada's electricity emissions over the next 20 years. Installed capacity of wind and solar nearly doubles over the outlook period, but hydro will remain the dominant source of renewable electricity energy in 2040.

The CER produces neutral and fact-based energy analysis to inform the energy conversation in Canada. This report is the only publicly available, long-term energy supply and demand outlook covering all energy commodities and all provinces and territories; it provides Canadians with a key reference point for discussing the country's energy future.

Quick Facts

  • Energy use per person in Canada declines over 15% by 2040.
  • By 2040, the share of non-emitting electricity generation in Canada increases to 83% from 81%.
  • Wind and solar forms nearly 10% of Canada's electricity generation by 2040.
  • From 2018 to 2040, crude oil production grows by nearly 50%, to around seven million barrels per day.
  • The outlook is based on climate and energy policies that are currently in place or sufficiently detailed and are a key reason why the growth in Canadian fossil fuel use is limited.
  • Natural gas production increases by about 30%, to over 20 billion cubic feet per day over the next 20 years.
  • Natural gas and renewables will displace coal-fired generation in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia. Canada's large base of hydro power will continue to produce electricity in British Columbia, Manitoba, Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador.
  • By 2040, total fossil fuel use grows less than 1% from current levels, but growth varies significantly across the different fuel types. Natural gas use, the least GHG-intensive fossil fuel, increases by 18%. Oil product use declines by 7%, while coal use declines by nearly 75%.

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