Sustainable Development Goal 7: Affordable and clean energy

Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7Footnote 1 aims to address the needs of the billion people around the world who lack access to electricity. It calls for:

  • universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and clean energy for all by 2030
  • doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix
  • doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency

Canadian ambition under Affordable and clean energy

Canada is one of the world’s largest per-capita consumers of energy, even taking into account the significant energy required for heating and power in a large northern country. Under this SDG, Canada is:

Work on zero emission and low carbon motor vehicle and clean fuels innovation is captured under SDG 9.

Canada’s ambitions for this goal are to support Canadians to reduce their energy consumption, and to ensure Canadians have access to clean and renewable energy. Canada’s targets for SDG 7 are:

Canadian Indicator Framework

In collaboration with federal departments and agencies, Statistics Canada has developed the Canadian Indicator Framework (CIF) for the Sustainable Development Goals. The CIF includes 76 indicators specific to Canada, which measure progress using a set of nationally relevant, objective and comprehensive indicators. CIF indicators for SDG 7 are:

  • Annual energy savings resulting from the adoption of energy efficiency codes, standards and practices
  • Total energy consumption per capita
  • Proportion of electricity generated from renewable and non-greenhouse gas emitting sources

What we are doing for affordable and clean energy in Canada

Energy innovation

The Energy Innovation Program and other Natural Resources Canada initiatives support hundreds of energy research, development and demonstration (RD&D) projects through a suite of programs and tools, including collaborative investments, prize-based challenges and focused RD&D. Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) helps Canadian companies develop and demonstrate new environmental technologies that address:

  • climate change
  • clean air
  • clean water
  • clean soil

The Government of Canada, in partnership with provinces and territories, Indigenous Peoples and communities, power utilities, industry, innovators, laboratories, academia, and civil society, launched Canada’s Small Modular Reactor Action Plan in December 2020. Recognizing that many Canadian farmers use natural gas and propane in their operations, the Agricultural Clean Technology Program supports development and adoption of clean technologies to help farms shift to clean energy.

The Green Infrastructure Stream under the Investing in Canada Plan supports climate change mitigation projects that target:

  • better capacity to manage more renewable energy
  • improved access to clean energy transportation
  • more energy efficient buildings
  • improved production of clean energy

Energy efficiency

Federal actions include:

  • strengthening our Energy Efficiency Regulations
  • investing in more stringent model energy building codes and retrofit codes
  • implementing a national approach to mandatory energy labelling and disclosure
  • developing energy efficiency tools and standards for industry
  • supporting research in farming practices that promote energy conservation and funding demonstration projects

Energy used to heat and cool our buildings accounts for 17 per cent of Canada’s emissions; we are working to reduce these emissions and help make Canadian communities more sustainable:

Clean electricity and electrification

The Government of Canada continues to support Indigenous, rural and remote communities’ transition off diesel to clean energy.

The Canada Infrastructure Bank's Growth Plan involves investments of $2.5 billion to support renewable energy generation, storage and transmission.

Upgrades to existing fossil fuel energy systems and supplementing or replacing these systems with renewable energy options in the North are supported by the Arctic Energy Fund.

In 2018, the federal government regulated the phase-out of conventional coal-fired electricity by 2030. This will help Canada achieve its goal of a net-zero electricity grid by 2035.  

The Smart Renewables and Electrification Pathways and Smart Grid Programs support smart renewable energy and electrical grid modernization projects. These programs will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions by encouraging the replacement of fossil-fuel generated electricity with renewables that can provide essential grid services. This supports Canada’s equitable transition to an electrified economy and creates clean jobs in the process.

The Emerging Renewable Power Program, launched in 2018, is expanding the portfolio of commercially viable renewable energy available to provinces and territories as they work to reduce GHG emissions. This program mitigates the risk of renewable power technologies already established at the commercial level abroad but not yet in Canada or demonstrated in Canada but not yet deployed at utility scale, allowing emerging renewables to play a larger role in Canada’s electricity supply mix.

Clean Fuels

The Government of Canada invested $1.5 billion in the Clean Fuels Fund to de-risk the capital investment required to:

  • build new or expand existing clean fuel production facilities
  • establish sustainable biomass supply chains
  • address gaps and misalignment in codes, standards and regulations related to the production, distribution and use of clean fuels

Canada is implementing Clean Fuel Regulations, a modern and robust regulatory framework to drive down the life-cycle carbon intensity of fuels over time to reduce emissions and accelerate the use of clean fuels.

Canada is working with domestic and international partners to ensure needed codes and standards are in place to support the safe and efficient use of clean fuels.

The Government of Canada is working with stakeholders to advance the Hydrogen Strategy for Canada. Executing the Strategy will position Canada as a world-leading producer, user and exporter of clean hydrogen, and associated technologies.

What Canada is doing for affordable and clean energy abroad

Recognizing the critical role that efficiency plays in providing affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy, the Government of Canada engages with key bilateral partners and multilateral organizations to advance clean energy technologies and equitable access to clean energy around the world. For example, Canada:

  • is a founding member of the International Energy Agency and actively supports its mandate to promote sustainable, reliable, and affordable energy globally. Within the IEA, Canada chairs its Committee on Energy Research and Technology (CERT) and officially participates in 22 of its technology collaboration programmes
  • supports the International Energy Agency’s Clean Energy Transitions Programme, which helps developing countries enhance their capacity to develop and deploy clean energy technologies launched, with the International Renewable Energy Agency, a global, multi-stakeholders platform to transition remote communities to renewable energy
  • participates in the G7, G20 and APEC Energy Working Groups and works directly on clean energy initiatives with the United States, Mexico, European states, China, India, Japan and other states
  • works with partners in the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) to accelerate the pace of clean energy transition, including through continued leadership to accelerate deployment of clean energy technologies, including on hydrogen, electric and nuclear, as well as increasing gender equity and ensuring a people-centred energy transition. The CEM’s Clean Energy, Education, and Empowerment Initiative is enabling greater gender diversity in clean energy professions. Canada co-launched the Equal by 30 campaign, which aims to bring together leadership from across the energy sector to find common ground for action to achieve equal pay, equal leadership and equal opportunities by 2030
  • plays a leadership role in energy RD&D with Mission Innovation (MI), notably by co-leading MI’s newly launched Carbon Dioxide Removal Mission and participating in the Clean Hydrogen, Green Powered Future, and Integrated Biorefineries Missions
  • partners with the UN Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction, the International Energy Efficiency Hub, and related IEA Technical Collaboration Programs, such as the Energy Efficient End-Use Equipment (IEA-4E)

Canada is a leader in the Powering Past Coal Alliance for global results. Export Development Canada now has restrictions on financing for coal-fired power projects. Canada is also providing up to $1 billion to the Climate Investment Funds’ Accelerated Coal Transition Investment Program. This program helps developing countries transition from coal-fired electricity to clean power, including retirement of coal mines and coal power plants.

Canada has invested in international clean energy transition through multilateral development banks. For example, the Canadian Fund for the Private Sector in the Americas will help Latin American and Caribbean countries reduce their carbon footprint and adapt to climate change while empowering women.

Through Canada’s Cleantech International Business Development Strategy, the Government of Canada supports Canadian firms export clean technologies and clean energy solutions in areas such as hydrogen, energy storage, smart grid, and bioproducts, to help other countries to meet their 2030 Agenda commitments.

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