Report / February 28, 2022

State of the Canadian Electricity Industry 2022

More. Faster. These words were spoken loud and clear by the Government of Canada with regard to the urgent need for action on climate change. In a year that saw the devastating effects of climate change on Canada’s coasts, a federal election focused heavily on varying climate commitments, and an international agreement at COP 26 in Glasgow, the Canadian electricity industry, expected to be the foundation upon which our decarbonized Canadian future will be built, is seeking to unpack the magnitude of expectations of these lofty, transformational goals.

Prior to the 2021 election, the Government of Canada unveiled its Net Zero Emissions Accountability Act. Since re-election, the Liberal government has indicated plans to work toward a Net Zero grid by 2035. The clock is ticking, with 2035 rapidly approaching. As such, Electricity Canada’s theme in 2022 is Accelerate, as the sector works with governments to deliver a workable plan. To meet GHG reduction expectations, such a plan ought to allow electricity service providers to electrify the economy and grow electricity generating by two to three times, all while continuing to decarbonize by phasing out non-renewable sources of energy.

Our industry has known for some time that it would have a significant role to play in Canada’s Net Zero future and Electricity Canada member companies unveiled a variety of Net Zero announcements ahead of the government’s 2021 Net Zero legislation. In some cases, companies offered targets that far exceed the government’s Net Zero by 2050 goals.

However, implementation of these commitments require much greater collaboration with and support of governments, regulators, Indigenous communities, and other civil society groups.

Local distribution companies are aggressively pursuing challenging targets. Hydro Ottawa President and CEO Bryce Conrad went so far as to note, “My goal is to be the first—the first municipally owned utility in Canada—to be Net Zero.” Electricity Canada members are responding by innovating and implementing aggressive environmental, social, governance practices to meet ambitious goals. Overcoming ongoing challenges, which include regulatory burden while safeguarding customer affordability and affordability, will be critical to success. Opportunities—including Indigenous reconciliation, local engagement initiatives and the adoption of new technologies—will propel electricity companies to, and ahead of, their targets.

As part of our exploration of the Net Zero goal, we at Electricity Canada engaged Canadian electricity executives, government officials, and stakeholders in a series of Flux Capacitor podcast interviews on the challenges and opportunities inherent in meeting this goal. These interviews revealed key themes that are reflected in the chapters of this year’s State of the Canadian Electricity Industry. Their voices and more will echo throughout our industry’s and country’s policy discussions as we look ahead to 2035.

The clock is ticking.



Net Zero by 2050

Electricity Canada is working with the Government of Canada and member companies to develop strategies to achieve Canada’s Net Zero by 2050 targets. Review Electricity Canada’s actions to address Net Zero by 2050 here.