WINNIPEG—A business-led task force aimed at accelerating electrification across Canada is calling on Canada’s premiers to spearhead the development and implementation of an electrification strategy.
Provincial government leadership is the key recommendation from Electrifying Canada’s new report, Canada’s Electrification Advantage in the Race to Net Zero, stated a May 24 release. The report synthesizes existing research and interviews with 20 corporate and Indigenous leaders to identify what it will take to accelerate the pace of clean electrification in Canada.
While the federal government has an important role to play, responsibility for electricity and energy systems more broadly largely resides with the provinces, stated the release. Provinces have the authority to direct utilities and regulators to align their planning and decisions with the electrification needed to reach net-zero, and they will need to work together to optimize and integrate their power grids to do so at the lowest cost to consumers.
The report identifies five catalysts that can help overcome current barriers to business electrification and serve as a starting point for a national electrification strategy.
∙ Businesses need to act, supporting the early deployment of electrified solutions, and translating climate action targets into electrification plans, pilots and projects to support scaled-up investment.
∙ Provincial governments need to provide clear net-zero mandates to utilities and the regulators that oversee them. The mandates of regulators, local and provincial utilities, system planners and system operators must be modernized to ensure utility plans and regulatory decisions are consistent with pathways to net-zero.
∙ Utilities must align their planning with net-zero goals to ensure an adequate supply of clean power.
∙ Governments need to enable greater investment certainty and regulate clear performance standards, guaranteeing a rising price on carbon pollution, along with clear timelines for scaling up clean electricity.
∙ Electrification projects and the new clean electricity supply must be financed by attracting private investment, channelling interest in private investment through public–private–Indigenous approaches. These efforts should also recognize and replicate the current examples of private–Indigenous approaches that do not require public funding.
Electrifying Canada members include Teck Resources, OPG, Dunsky Energy + Climate Advisors, Innergex Renewable Energy, the First Nations Major Project Coalition, Cameco and the Ivey Foundation.
“Clean electrification is key to Canada achieving net-zero, and key to ensuring Canadian businesses can compete in a low carbon world,” said Susan McGeachie, co-chair of Electrifying Canada and head of the BMO Climate Institute, in a statement. “But if we are going to deliver on this, we need Canada’s premiers to step up to champion electrification and take the lead in developing an electrification strategy for Canada. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves to help.”