Canada’s Electricity Producers Report Cuts To Carbon Emissions

Power Plant

By Arman Kazemi

September 3, 2015

The Canadian Electricity Association’s member companies have reported a 5.8 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in 2014.

Those members include utilities across most Canadian provinces and territories, including BC Hydro and Power Authority, SaskPower and Ontario Power Generation.

The decline contributes to a 22 per cent reduction in carbon emissions since 2010 among many of Canada’s major electricity providers, according to the 2015 Sustainable Electricity Annual Report, “Delivering Value to Canadians”.

Canada’s entire electricity sector contributes about 12 per cent of total greenhouse gas emissions in Canada.

“I take great pride in CEA members’ actions to reduce their carbon footprint and contribute to healthy Canadian communities,” said Sergio Marchi, president and CEO of the Canadian Electricity Association, in a statement.

“These achievements, combined with the fact that over 80 per cent of Canada’s electricity is already generated from non-emitting sources, will strengthen Canada’s position at the upcoming Conference of Parties meeting in Paris later this year,” he said.

The carbon emissions of CEA’s corporate members were about 47.26 megatonnes last year, compared to 50.16 in 2013. Much of that reduction is thanks to Ontario’s independent initiative to eliminate coal power from its electricity diet. That initiative has reduced annual greenhouse gas emissions by more than 25 megatonnes.

But while absolute carbon emissions are down, emissions intensity saw a minor increase in 2014 of about 0.8 per cent.

According to the report, “new investments in low-emitting generation, purchase of renewable energy from other suppliers, combined with plant retirements [such as coal in Ontario] will further reduce the sector’s contribution to GHG emissions.”

Besides carbon dioxide, mercury emissions saw a drop of 15.6 per cent in 2014, while sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide each fell by 9.7 per cent and 4.3 per cent, respectively.

Member utilities invested approximately $13 billion in 2014 for “infrastructure renewal and modernization,” according to the report. The CEA plans to further reduce emissions by 2020 by investing in carbon capture and sequestration, hydro power, and other renewable energy projects.