Friday, October 19, 2012

Renewable energy development in Canada

Given the size of Canada's territory it is really no surprise that Canada has abundant renewable energy sources at its disposal, meaning it has significant edge over other countries in terms of renewable energy development. However, just having plenty of resources to choose from is not enough, and Canada still has plenty of work ahead before being able to competitively enter clean energy race.

The most important renewable energy source in Canada is hydropower. Canada is today the second largest producer of hydroelectricity in the world, trailing only China. In fact, Canada generates approximately 60% of its electricity from hydropower. Quebec leads the way with 59 hydroelectric dams that have a combined capacity of 34,118 megawatts, almost half of the Canadian total. The good news about hydropower in Canada is also the fact that Canada still has plenty hydro resources untapped. This means that hydropower sector should look forward to a very bright future in Canada.

Canada still has plenty of untapped hydropower potential.

Canada is experiencing rapid growth in wind power capacity. In 2011, Canada installed more than 1000 MW of new wind power capacity. At the end of 2011, wind power capacity in Canada grew to a total of 5,265 megawatts. The supportive government policy was one of the main reasons for the rapid growth of wind energy in Canada. Quebec and Ontario lead the way in wind energy development. Offshore wind energy also represents a very interesting option.

Solar energy isn't exactly a priority for Canadian renewable energy sector. This is no surprise since Canada isn’t exactly blessed with the enormous amount of sunlight throughout the year. However, there are some parts of the Canada that have excellent solar energy resources at their disposal such as southern Ontario that was estimated to have potential to produce approximately 100 gigawatts of solar power. Solar energy is currently the most popular renewable energy source in the world, and Canada is also making plenty of it with many Canadian companies already involved into making solar modules, controls, specialized water pumps, high efficiency refrigerators and solar lighting systems.

Canada has enormous potential for the biomass production, given the massive forests across much of the Canada. Even despite the excellent biomass potential, Canada isn't making much of its wood resources, even despite the fact that the demand for bioproducts is rapidly growing on global level.

The harnessing of geothermal energy in Canada is still primarily related to geothermal heating. The latest estimates say that there are more than 30,000 geothermal heating systems installed across the country. British Columbia, Yukon and Alberta have significant geothermal energy resources at their disposal but the country still hasn’t done much to boost its domestic geothermal production.

Canada also has good tidal and wave power potential, though these technologies are yet to be given real chance on global scale, so they are not exactly being much talked about in Canada.

To conclude, Canada needs to combine its wealth in renewable energy resources with the proper investment and the right clean energy policy. If Canada manages to achieve this it could soon become one of the most prominent countries in global clean energy map.