Barriers to Building Infrastructure

Canada is going to need more electricity to meet the clean power needs of tomorrow and must invest in clean energy infrastructure.


Canada is going to need to build a lot more electricity infrastructure in the coming decades. The federal government believes that the need for clean power could triple by 2050, requiring substantial investment over and above replacement. Electricity projects currently dominate ReNew Canada’s list of largest Canadian Infrastructure projects.

Building at this scale, all while ensuring the system remains reliable and affordable, will be an enormous task. It will also come with a big price tag: the Conference Board of Canada has estimated that the electricity sector will need to invest at least $1.7 trillion to meet mid-century climate targets.

Fostering a stable environment for companies to make these investments will be critical. That’s why it will be important to ensure that there is a stable, predictable, and timeline environment for government greenlighting of projects.

This is already a challenge. At the federal level alone, the electricity sector is affected by more than 90 regulations across dozens of statutes. There are often similar processes at the provincial level. It can take years for approvals of even straightforward projects, and sometimes more than a decade for complicated ones. Beyond length, processes require substantial expenditure even if approval is not certain.

There is a need for robust and thorough processes to ensure that projects are safe and to minimize these impacts. Such processes must be clear, predictable, and focused. Otherwise, proponents could be discouraged from building the energy infrastructure Canada relies on in the first place.