A report from the Canadian Energy Research Institute has concluded that a $2-billion investment in a $20-billion, 20-year energy plan will generate a total of $22.5 billion in savings.
The plan would see electricity production increased by nearly 60 per cent over current levels and power demand reduced by 40 per cent.
The report, by a group of energy experts, says the plan will increase electricity generation by about 35 per cent and cut power demand by 40 percent.
It’s the first time the Canadian government has released a comprehensive report on the future of the country’s energy infrastructure, with a view to developing strategies to increase demand and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Key findings: The CERI analysis found the $2 billion investment will generate $22-billion in savings, with $6.6-billion coming from increased electricity production and the remainder from reductions in carbon emissions.
The study notes that existing technologies are working to address carbon emissions and energy security, but that Canada’s energy system is too costly to transition to 100 per cent renewables, which are also projected to reduce emissions.
But the report cautions that the economic benefits of a 100 per-cent renewable energy plan are likely to be small and will only be realized once the country has built sufficient transmission lines and pumped storage to support renewables.
Energy expert Robert McClelland, a professor of climate change at the University of Toronto, said the report is significant because it highlights the need to look beyond existing technology to find a more sustainable energy future.
“The $22 billion investment in this plan will come from the most economically attractive sources of electricity, which will be very good news,” McCleland said.
“The report also looks at the future impacts of carbon emissions, which could provide a lot of insights into what we can do to reduce our emissions.”
The government has promised to invest $1.6 billion over the next two years to address climate change and its impacts, with the goal of having 100 per and 95 per cent of the province’s energy supply generated entirely with renewable sources by 2050.
McClelland said it’s hard to know how much the $22B investment would pay off, since it could come from existing power generation projects or a new project.
But he said the plan is a start.
“What this report shows is that if we do this right, we can make significant progress,” he said.
CERI will be releasing a report later this month that will look at the cost of climate mitigation and how to meet those costs.
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