Tomorrow’s economy will be built on a solid foundation of clean, sustainable growth. Growth that will drive new technologies; increase productivity; and create jobs for Canadians. As governments and industry work to operationalize the Paris Agreement, and move from aspiration to action, Canada has a significant advantage in one crucial area: access to abundant sustainable and reliable power.
Meeting our ambitious climate change targets is as much an economic and financial challenge as it is an environmental one, particularly for resource based economies such as ours. Canada’s electricity sector operates at the nexus of economic growth and environmental protection, and is uniquely positioned to power our future low-carbon economy.
Investments in Canadian electricity grow the economy – they create good jobs, promote clean economic growth and ensure businesses and households benefit from access to safe and dependable energy. But not at the expense of the environment. Canadian electricity is already 82% GHG free. The sector has reduced emissions by nearly 30% since 2005, and it is set to do the same again by 2030.
As we celebrate National Electricity Month this June, in a year where the Canadian Electricity Association is already celebrating its 125th anniversary, we are looking to the future. Electricity has powered progress in Canada for over 125 years. If we are going to continue to do so, Canada needs to invest in tomorrow’s energy systems today.
We need to build a smarter, stronger and more responsive electricity system; we need to electrify high-emitting sectors, at home and across North America; we need to institute effective and credible assessment, permitting and exporting processes; and we need to promote innovation and experimentation in order to find the next game-changing technology.
It is time to seriously consider a price on carbon, which must be applied on an economy- and continent-wide basis, so as to drive real change while protecting the competitive position of Canadian companies. It is time to prepare for the impacts of climate in a systematic way. It is time to establish a permanent, transparent and inclusive consultation process that will empower all Canadians. And it is far past time to bring affordable, reliable energy – and its many social and economic benefits – to all Canadians by electrifying the North.
In short, electricity is Canada’s clean energy solution. We are new technology; we are sustainable infrastructure; and we are green jobs. Finding the balance between economic and environmental outcomes is a generational challenge. By harnessing the power of Canadian electricity, we are well positioned to lead.
Hon. Sergio Marchi
President and CEO of the Canadian Electricity Association