State of The Canadian Electricity Industry 2020 Report

Transforming to meet climate, customer and competitive needs

Turbines. Simple yet highly complex assets emblematic of the Canadian electricity system. Used to convert energy into the power that turns the lights on, they go largely unnoticed. And while the system may be invisible to the average consumer, it is in the midst of a transformation as technological, societal and environmental changes compel our electricity companies to create new ways to serve customers, communities and policymakers.

Members of the Canadian Electricity Association (CEA) have built upon a strong foundation, as one of the world’s lowest-carbon electricity systems by significantly improving environmental performance over the past two decades. At the same time, they have continued to modernize electricity infrastructure, ensure the security of the power system and enable customers to interact with it in novel ways. They continue to do all of this within a tightly regulated environment.

The current federal government, re-elected in October 2019 with a minority mandate by Canadians, has staked out ambitious policy goals.

This includes exceeding current 2030 carbon-reduction targets and laying the groundwork for net-zero emissions by 2050, as well as advancing electrification of the economy.

Additional industry-relevant policy imperatives include reducing diesel reliance in northern Indigenous communities, accelerating home retrofits and electrifying government buildings. Internationally, the continued lack of consensus on a global carbon market system has a further significant bearing on the industry outlook.

This is the backdrop against which CEA presents State of the Canadian Electricity Industry 2020. Identified are themes that encompass the most significant drivers of change and the most critical focal points for our members. An overview of the current status, necessary industry actions and specific recommendations to help Canada’s electricity industry continue to provide safe, secure and sustainable electricity for all Canadians in the face of a rapid evolution is outlined.

2020 will be a transformative year for the electricity industry. It will continue to face both challenges and opportunities.

The carbon reduction imperative is only becoming more urgent and is a key driver—one among many—of a pressing need for accelerating innovation. Meanwhile, customer expectations around service and costs are rising.

Highlighted within are CEA’s key public policy-related issues and objectives through 2020 as our industry works to manage multi-faceted transformational change. We welcome stakeholders to engage with us in this dialogue to ensure our electricity system remains equal to the needs of our communities and to the challenges of our future.