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Canada’s clean energy priorities need hydropower

The Canadian government will work with international partners to promote opportunities for hydropower, eliminate barriers for renewable energy, and share best practices and benefits around the world, writes the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Natural Resources.

With its vast landmass and diverse geography, Canada has an abundance of renewable energy sources that are helping power our communities. That is part of Canada’s natural advantage; we not only have abundant resources, we have the expertise and experience to develop those resources – sustainably and competitively.

Hydropower is a great example of that advantage. For close to 140 years, Canada has been developing its water resources to produce clean, sustainable, reliable and affordable electricity.

Hydropower generates tremendous economic opportunities and provides thousands of jobs in communities across the country – all the while helping to ensure low electricity prices for Canadians. In fact, six out of every 10 Canadian homes and businesses are powered by hydropower.

The industry has also built new partnerships by developing projects with indigenous communities that create new, long-term economic opportunities from coast to coast while helping to reduce reliance on diesel fuel in off-grid, rural and remote communities.

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In 2017, our government launched Generation Energy, a nationwide conversation on Canada’s energy future. More than 380,000 individuals participated, including experts, industry stakeholders, and indigenous people. Their views were heard and included, and the final report outlines four clean energy paths to Canada’s energy future – including the use of more renewable energy like hydropower.

Canada is well on its way to realising this vision and hydropower is at the forefront of our energy transformation. Currently, six Canadian provinces and territories generate more than 94 per cent of their electricity from renewable sources. This creates opportunities for more trade in clean electricity between provinces and territories, while boosting our economy, creating jobs and protecting our environment.

We are also using technologies that improve the reliability, resiliency and flexibility of our new renewables-sourced energy systems. This technology will allow us to increase our energy security and provide consumers with a wider range of energy choices.

For all of these reasons, our government sees a bright future for Canada’s hydropower industry – at home and abroad. We will continue with international partners to promote these opportunities, eliminate barriers for renewable energy, and share best practices and benefits around the world.

This piece originally appeared in the 2019 Hydropower Status Report published on 12 May.