In 2016, renewable energy surpassed coal as the largest source of installed power capacity in the world. China’s carbon emissions peaked. The German upper house, the Bundesrat, voted to ban gasoline-powered cars by 2030. Vancouver chose to outlaw natural gas in new buildings by the same year. These are among the many signs the world is moving toward kicking its carbon habit, possibly by mid-century – a shift that would represent the simplest way to combat climate change. Canada faces a paradox in this regard. We are a large country with many resources, a small population and we already produce 10 per cent of the world’s hydro power, so you might think we could easily power ourselves with 100-per-cent renewable energy. On the other hand, most of our territory is not connected to electrical grids nor near population centres. In addition, we are energy hogs, in part owing to our need for heating and transportation that comes with a northern climate and dispersed population. The bottom line: There is plenty of renewable-energy potential near current roads, power lines and population centres. Most of it is wind power, with plenty of hydro and solar as well. In fact, every province except Alberta and Ontario has a large surfeit – enough to be choosy about siting installations to minimize environmental side-effects.
Globe and Mail 24th Dec 2016 read more »