Canada has unveiled its draft Clean Electricity Regulations (CER) with the goal of establishing a net-zero electricity grid by 2035, as reported by Reuters on August 10. The proposed regulations are anticipated to lead to a reduction of over 340 million tons in greenhouse gas emissions between 2040 and 2050, with a projected minimal impact on average residential electricity rates. Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault clarified that the ambition to create a net-zero grid doesn’t necessitate the complete elimination of fossil fuels from the grid. Instead, existing natural gas power plants will have the option to meet new emission standards through the implementation of carbon capture and storage systems, enabling them to sequester up to 95% of their emissions.
The establishment of net-zero power grid is a crucial step toward Canada’s broader objective of achieving overall net-zero emissions by 2050. The introduction of the CER aims to maintain affordability for Canadian citizens and businesses while ensuring the reliability of the electricity grid. Presently, approximately 84% of Canada’s electricity is generated from non-emitting sources. However, in four of the country’s ten provinces, fossil fuels remain a significant component of power generation. To accommodate this diversity, the CER incorporates exemptions for certain remote communities that have not yet been integrated into larger grids. In addition, the CER sets rigorous emission standards for power generation without prescribing specific emission-reduction technologies. This technology-neutral approach empowers decision-makers at the provincial, territorial, and municipal levels to determine the most appropriate path for transitioning to a clean grid, tailored to their individual circumstances.