Canadian Renewable Energy Capacity Targets Boosted By Provincial Initiatives


By Arman Kazemi

June 18, 2015

Global renewable energy capacity increased by 120 per cent between 2000 and 2014, according to new figures put out by the International Renewable Energy Agency.

The report, called Renewable Energy Capacity Statistics, is an accumulation of total renewable electricity generating capacity, including biomass, geothermal, solar and wind, from over 200 countries across emerging and developed economies.

According to the report, new global renewable power capacity has increased by over 100 GW every year since 2011, for a total of 1,829 GW in 2014. The year 2014 saw record growth in renewable capacity with 133 GW of net additions, according to the report.

At the same time, renewable energy targets have quadrupled across the globe since 2005, according to a related IRENA report, with 164 countries adopting “at least one type of renewable energy target as of mid-2015,” compared to 43 countries ten years ago.

Of the 164 countries, 131 were emerging economies evidence of the important role of developing nations in establishing renewables policy. Canada and the United Arab Emirates were the only two countries with sub-national renewable energy targets, but no national-level schemes.

Most Canadian provinces and territories do have some sort of renewable target, including B.C.’s 2010 Clean Energy Act, which established a province-wide goal of 93 per cent renewable energy capacity, and Ontario’s goal of having 10,700 MW renewable energy capacity by 2018.

As a result of these efforts, Canada’s renewable capacity grew 30 per cent between 2000 and 2014, compared to 120 per cent worldwide.

Among the largest contributors to the global renewables capacity, according to the IRENA report, were China, with 455 GW by 2014—almost 25 per cent of total global capacity—the United States with 203 GW, and Brazil with 107 GW largely thanks that country’s vast hydro reserves and bio-ethanol capacity.