Canada’s biggest oil-producing provinces, Alberta and Saskatchewan, are expected to experience the fastest growth in renewables energy capacity by 2023.
The change will mark a significant economic and technological shift towards clean energy at the current center of Canada’s oil and gas industry.
According to a report by the Canada Energy Regulator (CER), wind capacity will nearly double in Alberta and almost triple in Saskatchewan between 2020 and 2023. Significant solar capacity growth is also projected, with Alberta adding 1,200 megawatts (MW) by 2023.
In effect, by 2023, 26 percent of Alberta’s electricity capacity will come from renewable sources, up from 16 percent in 2017.
Between 2010 and 2017, Alberta added 718 MW of renewable capacity, primarily in the form of wind. By 2023, the province is expected to add 1,990 MW of new renewable capacity.
Saskatchewan will also see renewable energy capacity jump to 33 percent from 25 percent over the same period.
The move towards green energy is driven by the provinces’ geography and a climate that is advantageous for wind and solar.
Part of the reason for the comparatively rapid growth is a low baseline. Both provinces are currently far behind most others in producing electricity through renewables.
Canada currently draws 80 percent of its electricity from non-emitting sources. The country’s Liberal government has continuously pressed ahead with plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions and decrease the country’s coal production.
The vast majority of the country’s clean power comes from an extensive network of hydropower dams in British Columbia, Manitoba and Quebec.
The report says the country’s total installed renewable capacity will hit 71 percent in 2023, or 106,027 MW, up from 67 percent in 2018. But the rate of growth will slow from 2.9 percent per year in 2010-2017 to 1.3 percent per year in 2018-2023.
Among the countries included in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Canada has the eighth-largest share of renewables in its electricity mix. It is also targeting net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
Overall, Canada plans to generate 90 percent of electricity from non-emitting sources by 2030 and cut emissions by 5 metric megatonnes, equivalent to taking 1.3 million cars off the road, according to government estimates.