Clean Electricity Standard – Winter 2022 consultations

Clean Electricity Standard – Winter 2022 consultations

At the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada had set a goal of a net-zero electricity grid by 2035. This accelerates the original target outlined in Canada’s strengthened climate plan (December 2020) by fifteen years.

A Clean Electricity Standard discussion paper to be published in March 2022 will help guide engagements to inform the design and scope of the regulation, which will help drive progress towards achieving a net-zero electricity grid by 2035.

Maintaining Affordability and Reliability

In developing the proposed Clean Electricity Standard, the Government of Canada will work with implicated provinces and territories as appropriate to take into account possible clean power opportunities as well as potential cost and reliability issues for ratepayers and utilities, and impacts for electricity workers. Together, we will design a standard that minimizes impacts on ratepayers, maintains reliability, and reduces emissions.

The Clean Electricity Standard discussion paper builds on the federal government’s earlier actions on electricity. This includes implementing a 2030 phase-out of unabated coal and putting in place natural gas electricity performance standards to provide the right market signals. Together, these climate policies give utilities time to efficiently transition to clean electricity sources with minimal impacts on ratepayers.

Fossil fuel–free electricity can also protect consumers from market volatility and exposure to global events that affect the price of natural gas and oil, fuels that utilities currently use as part of their portfolio to generate electricity.

Supporting the Transition to Net-Zero Electricity

The Government of Canada understands the transition to net zero will require major investments in clean electricity generation, storage, and grid modernization to meet increasing demand from electrification in other parts of the economy as grid operators simultaneously decarbonize generation.

As part of Canada’s climate plan, the federal government is providing support for investments in renewable energy and next-generation clean energy and technology solutions.

In December 2020, Canada committed $15 billion in investments to build a stronger, cleaner, more resilient, and inclusive economy. This funding is helping to support many projects in the electricity sector, including:

  • an additional $964 million over four years to advance smart renewable energy and grid modernization projects to enable the clean grid of the future;
  • investing an additional $300 million over five years to help rural, remote, and Indigenous communities that currently rely on diesel to be powered by clean, reliable energy by 2030;
  • supporting connecting provincial electricity networks with necessary intertie project pre‑development work by providing $25 million in 2021–2022 to help some proponents conduct engineering assessments, community engagement, and environmental and regulatory studies; and
  • working with provinces and territories to help build key intertie transmission projects with support from the Canada Infrastructure Bank. Currently, this work includes advancing the “Atlantic Loop” intertie project, which could greatly reduce emissions and maintain electricity affordability in the Atlantic region, as well as other regional initiatives.

The Government has since expanded on these investments and committed an additional $17.6 billion in new green recovery measures included in Budget 2021, along with the creation of an investment tax credit to encourage the development of carbon capture and storage projects and increase their feasibility.

In addition, as part of its $10-billion Growth Plan, the Canada Infrastructure Bank has identified a long‑term target of $5 billion for clean power projects to support renewable generation and storage and to transmit clean electricity between provinces, territories, and regions, including to Northern and Indigenous communities.

On February 14, 2022, the Government of Canada announced the Future Electricity Fund as part of the Output-Based Pricing System (OBPS), which will re-invest $79.5 million to support clean electricity projects at electricity generating facilities covered by the OBPS in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Ontario and New Brunswick.

The Government of Canada is moving forward with its first green bond issuance of $5 billion before the end of March, the proceeds of which will be used to offer investment opportunities in both climate and environmental measures, including in green infrastructure and projects related to wind and solar energy. The green bond framework was published on March 3, 2022.

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