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A net-zero Canada would need 1.6 GW of solar per year from now on

TIU Canada’s Nikopol solar power plant.
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The industry body for renewable energy businesses in Canada has called upon federal and provincial politicians to take the actions required to drive 1.6 GW of new solar generation capacity per year.

That is the volume of solar the Canadian Renewable Energy Association (CanREA) estimates will be needed to achieve a net zero economy in mid century – alongside 3.8 GW of wind farms every 12 months for the next 29 years in what would be an annual CA$8 billion (US$6.3 billion) investment.

Presenting its 2050 Vision document this month, subtitled Powering Canada’s Journey to Net-Zero, the trade body said Canada, which currently has 3 GW of solar capacity, would need 47 GW by 2050.

The renewables lobby group said policymakers should heed the advice given by the International Energy Agency and totally decarbonize electricity by 2035.

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That would be an easier task for Canada than many industrialized nations as hydro supplies around 59% of the country’s electricity at present, with nuclear, solar and wind accounting for 15%, 0.5%, and 5%, respectively.

The scale of the challenge is illustrated by the fact the government has committed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, from 2005 levels, by 40-45% this decade, but has only managed a 1% fall thus far. The country has also set five-year targets for 2030, 2035, 2040, and 2045.

CanREA called on policymakers to do more to incentivize renewables roll-out and said grid upgrades should be co-ordinated on a regional, rather than provincial scale. The membership group also wants legacy gas-fired power plants to be eligible for the rising exposure to carbon pricing new facilities will have to accept, with full exposure this decade.

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Source: pv magazine