As outlined in the recently published Powering Canada Forward: Building a Clean, Affordable, and Reliable Electricity System for Every Region of Canada, the Government of Canada recognizes the pace and scale required to transform Canada’s electricity sector – and to seize the related economic and job-creating opportunities.

Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, in collaboration with the Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, have released the draft Clean Electricity Regulations. The draft regulations are designed to help Canada achieve a net-zero electricity grid by 2035, in close collaboration with provinces, territories, Indigenous partners, industry, and others.

“If we are serious about tackling the climate crisis, and we want to take full advantage of the opportunities in a clean economy, then it’s time we roll up our sleeves together and build the clean electricity grid of the 21st century,” said Guilbeault. “A net-zero grid will serve as the basis for climate actions across the economy, like helping Canadians switch to electric transportation and heating, or the development of new and cleaner industries. The benefits, in terms of good jobs and clean air in our communities, are enormous.”

Canada’s electricity grid is already one of the cleanest in the world, with more than 84 per cent of electricity generated from non-emitting sources like hydro, nuclear, and wind. The draft regulations will ensure decarbonization for the remainder of the grid, while meeting the needs of increasing demand for electricity. As drafted, they would cut over 340 megatonnes of greenhouse gas pollution between 2024 and 2050.

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Just as the United States and G7 partners are doing, setting new rules for cleaner power will stimulate investments in renewable energy like wind and solar, smart grid and energy storage systems, and emerging technologies, such as small modular reactors and carbon capture and storage. Canada is already seeing the benefits. Volkswagen committed earlier this year to build one of the largest battery factories in the world because of Canada’s ability to supply clean and affordable electricity. This plant alone will create 3,000 jobs.

More than $40 billion in new tax credits and other major federal investments will help drive even more economic opportunities through the construction of new power sources and retrofitting of existing plants. The federal government is working with provinces and territories to rollout this funding in a way that supports affordable clean electricity across Canada. If provinces and territories take full advantage of these tools, federal funding is expected to offset more than half the cost of the new investments needed under the draft regulations.

August 19, 2023, marks the beginning of a 75-day public consultation process with these stakeholders. Final regulations are expected in 2024.

Featured image credit: Getty Images

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