Clean Electricity Regulations

Formerly known as the Clean Electricity Standard

Electrifying more activities—from vehicles to heating and cooling buildings to various industrial processes—will be needed for Canada to transition to net-zero emissions by 2050. To do that, Canada needs to both increase the supply of electricity and ensure that all electricity generation has net-zero emissions.

The Government of Canada is currently developing the Clean Electricity Regulations (CER) that will help drive progress towards a net-zero electricity grid by 2035. Work on clean electricity will also be key to reaching Canada’s ambitious and achievable 2030 and 2050 climate targets.

The CER can help transition Canada to a net-zero electricity grid by 2035 while ensuring that Canadians can still enjoy a reliable and affordable electricity system. Canada’s Clean Electricity Regulations are being developed around three core principles:

  1. Maximize greenhouse gas reductions to achieve net-zero emissions from the electricity grid by 2035;
  2. Ensure grid reliability to support a strong economy and ensure Canadians are safe by having energy to support their cooling needs in the summer and warmth in the winter; and,
  3. Maintain electricity affordability for homeowners and businesses.

Achieving this longer-term climate goal will be a joint effort with provinces, territories, Indigenous partners, utilities, non-government organizations, academics, industry, and interested Canadians. It will also require a number of interrelated actions across the economy.

Figure 1 – Notional integration of measures to decarbonize Canada’s electricity system and economy.
Long description

There is a title that reads: “1 Clean Electricity Supply and Generation” above a box on the left hand side of the image. In the box at the top is the text: “Transform the electricity sector so that all electricity generation is non-emitting”. Underneath there is an upward arrow next to a picture of wind turbines and the words “Non-emitting electricity” with two bullets underneath that read “Hydro, wind, solar, emerging renewables”, and “nuclear, hydro”. Beside this image, still in the same box, is a downward arrow next to a picture of an industrial facility with the words “Emitting Electricity” with two bullets underneath that read “Phase-out coal-fired plants” and “phase-down natural gas and diesel electricity”. This concludes the first box.

Below this box there is an arrow pointing downward towards another box, beside the arrow text reads “Increased clean electricity supply for the grid”.

There is a second title that reads: “2 Clean Electricity Transmission and Storage” above this second box. There are two columns side by side in this box. The title of the first one reads “Interties”. Below it, there is one bullet that says “interties to supply clean electricity to all regions” with an image of electricity distribution power lines. The title of the second column reads “Grid Modernization”. Below it there are three bullets that say “Distribution Energy Resources”, “Smart Grids”, and “Grid Storage” next to a picture of a battery with eight nodes coming out of it.

At the right hand side of the image, there is a third box with a title above it that reads: “3 Electrification and Energy Efficiency for Energy and End-Use Sectors”. There is an arrow pointing from this box towards the first box that reads “Increased demand for electricity moderated by improvements in end-user energy efficiency”. There is an arrow pointing towards this box from the second box that reads “Increased access to clean electricity”. Within this box, there are four sub-headers, each with a small icon and a few bullets. The first one is titled “Transportation”, has an icon of a bus and a car, and it has three bullets that read “Electric cars and trucks”, “Electric Rail, Marine, and Off-Road”, and finally “Vehicle Charging Infrastructure”. The second sub-header reads Buildings, the icon is of multiple tall buildings, and two bullets read “Heat pumps for space and water heating”, and “Energy efficient lighting, windows, HVAC and Building Envelopes”. The third sub-header reads “Industry”, the icon is of a factory, and two bullets read “Electrothermal Technologies” and “Electric Processes, Equipment and Machines”. The fourth sub-header reads “Oil and Gas”, with an icon of a barrel, and two bullets read “Electrification of Natural Gas / liquid natural gas (LNG)”, and “Electric Equipment and Machines (Turbines, Pumps, and Compressors)”.

On the right-hand side, next to this third box, there is a smaller box titled “Energy Efficiency” with the text “Energy Efficiency to Manage Demand” contained within, and there are arrows pointing from this smaller box to the larger third box.

Below the first three boxes, there are three arrows pointing upwards from a fourth large box, and one arrow pointing downward from the third box. Next to the arrow pointing downwards is some text and a smaller box in red perforated lines. The text beside the arrow reads “Low-carbon fuels and other decarbonisation pathways”. The text in the smaller box in red perforated lines has two bullets that read “Fuel switching for end-users with limited potential to electrify”, and “Support for Clean Process Technologies”.

The fourth box has a title above it that reads: “4 Innovative, Clean and Enabling Technologies to Advance Electrification”. Beside the box is text that reads “cross-cutting opportunity for research, development and demonstration (RD&D) to drive innovation in clean technologies”. In the box, there are three icons, each beside a single bullet. From left to right, there is first an icon of a lighting bullet with two arrows indicating a cycle, the text reads “Emerging Renewables, small modular reactors (SMRs), carbon capture and storage (CCS), Hydrogen”. The second icon is of power distribution lines and the bullet reads “Smart Grids, Batteries, Distributed Energy”. The third icon is of a wall power plug and the bullet reads “Clean electric and energy efficient technologies for end-use sectors”.

The CER is part of a suite of measures by the Government of Canada from the 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan to move the country’s s electricity sector to net-zero, as an enabler for broader decarbonisation.

Canada understands the transition to net-zero will require major investments in clean electricity generation, storage, and grid modernization to meet increasing demand from electrification in other parts of the economy as grid operators simultaneously decarbonize generation.

Moving forward on developing the Clean Electricity Regulations sends a clear signal to investors, provinces and territories, and industry about the kinds of technology that Canada’s electricity sector will need to use to generate reliable and non-emitting power. This will help to drive the phasing down of existing electricity generation from non-abated fossil fuel fired electricity plants and ensure that any new power generation built in Canada is zero-emission.

The CER will support the competitiveness of the economy by providing a clear basis for provinces and territories to plan and operate their electricity systems, while continuing to deliver reliable electricity to Canadians and keeping costs for households and businesses affordable.

Next steps

The Government of Canada is inviting interested stakeholders to provide their feedback on the Regulatory Frame Document until August 17, 2022. Feedback can be sent to Input received will help to inform the development of the proposed regulations, expected to be published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, by the end of 2022, followed by a 75-day public comment period. The department and the Minister of Environment and Climate Change are committed to consultations and stakeholder interactions beyond the Regulatory Frame Document timelines given the importance and technicalities of the regulations.

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