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Green Renewable Power and Policy in Canada: A Just Energy Transition to Net-Zero

Shirley Thompson

Abstract: A just and sustainable future requires green renewable power. Net-zero by 2050 is the international goal to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius and sustain the biosphere. Green renewable energy, including wind, solar, biomass and small hydro is abundant in Canada, with potential to satisfy demand with 100% green renewables. This paper compares the renewable power landscape across Canada’s provinces considering four factors—electricity energy mix, renewable energy targets (RETs), renewable energy standard offer programs (RESOPs), feed-in tariff (FITs) or community FITs (comFITs). The provinces with green renewable energy sources typically have enabling policies of RESOP, RETs and FITS, as Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Ontario and New Brunswick do. In contrast, provinces with abundant oil and gas or large-scale hydro are without pro-renewable energy policies, nor community power options, excepting green renewables in Indigenous communities due to federal funding programs. Community green renewable power projects, such as the “Indigenous off-diesel initiative”, are creating jobs, community revenue and energy sovereignty, towards just and inclusive energy in off-grid Indigenous communities. To reduce climate change, fast-tracking net-zero electricity by 2035 is recommended with the prioritization of community renewable energy by RESOPs, FITs and comFITs. For the transportation and other sectors, banning of all fossil fuels before 2040 is needed. Finally, a long-term plan to reduce the negative impacts of hydroelectricity water fluctuation is needed, considering decommissioning some dams.
Keywords: Feed-in-Tariffs / Renewable Energy / Energy Policy / Green Energy / Hydro-Development / Wind Energy

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