A sustainable energy outlook for Canada

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Source: GLOBE Foundation

A new report from Greenpeace and the European Renewable Energy Council shows how Canada can play an important role in addressing the serious threat of climate change.

The report outlines a blueprint for fighting climate change that is nothing short of an Energy [R]evolution - a transformation that has already started, as renewable energy markets exhibit huge and steady growth. At the core of this revolution will be a change in the way that energy is produced, distributed and consumed.

The new report, Energy [R]evolution: A Sustainable Energy Outlook for Canada, includes an Advanced Energy Revolution scenario for Canada:

  • Aggressive energy efficiency measures would reduce Canada's primary energy demand by 50 per cent,
  • Canadian consumers would save an average of $5.3 billion per year, or roughly $135 per person per year, on their energy bills over the next 40 years, relative to relying on increasingly expensive fossil fuels,
  • Overall, the contribution from renewable sources of energy would rise from 15 per cent of Canada's primary energy demand today, to 25 per cent by 2020 and 74 per cent by 2050.
  • Renewable energy sources would provide 96 per cent of electricity and 92 per cent of our total heating needs demand by 2050,
  • 77,000 jobs would be created in the renewable power sector alone by 2030,
  • Investments in public transit, more efficient vehicles and switching freight from trucks to rail would cut energy demand in the transportation sector by half. There would also be a shift to hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery-electric vehicles, so that electricity would provide 24 per cent of the transport sector's total energy demand by 2030 and 60 per cent in 2050,
  • The worldwide shift to more efficient transportation systems and electric vehicles would reduce the demand for oil by 25 per cent by 2030, and 66 per cent by 2050.
  • Energy-related greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced 21 per cent by 2020, 47 per cent by 2030 and 95 per cent by 2050.

This Advanced Scenario was developed in conjunction with specialists from the Institute of Technical Thermodynamics at the German Aerospace Centre (DLR), the Dutch Institute Ecofys and more than 30 scientists and engineers from universities, institutes and the renewable energy industry around the world.

The Canadian Energy [R]evolution report is part of a series of country-specific scenarios for more than 30 countries. The series provides a comprehensive global energy concept and breaks fresh ground with detailed financial analysis and employment calculations.

There is an analysis of how to restructure the global energy system based on a detailed assessment for the potential of proven renewable energy sources, energy efficiency and the utilisation of efficient, decentralised cogeneration.

The Canadian report provides three energy scenarios with a basic Energy [R]evolution Scenario and the Advanced Scenario compared to a 'business as usual' scenario provided by the International Energy Association's breakdown of 10 world regions as used in the ongoing series of World Energy Outlook reports.

To join the Energy [R]evolution and to avoid catastrophic climate change, the report states the following policies and actions must be implemented in the energy sector:

  • Phase out all subsidies for fossil fuels and nuclear energy.
  • Internalize the external (social and environmental) costs of energy production through 'cap and trade' emissions trading.
  • Implement strict efficiency standards for all energy-consuming appliances, buildings and vehicles.
  • Establish legally binding targets for renewable energy and combined heat and power generation.
  • Guarantee priority grid access for renewable energy.
  • Provide defined and stable returns for investors; for example, through feed-in tariff programs.
  • Implement better labelling to provide more energy and environment product information.
  • Increase research and development budgets for efficiency and renewable energy

For more details on the Energy [R]evolution report, go to www.greenpeace.ca/enrevcan

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