Of the approximate 650 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity generated in Canada annually, about two-thirds is now produced from renewable sources—with Canada’s vast reserves of hydro-electric power accounting for nine-tenths of this amount.[1]  By one recent estimate, Canada is the third-largest producer of hydro-electric power in the world,[2] led by the provinces of Québec, British Columbia, Ontario and Manitoba. As in other jurisdictions, however, Canada has also seen a broad shift toward wind and solar generation, a shift that is accompanied by the planned phase-out of coal-fired generation in Ontario and Alberta. Partly because of this transition, the electricity sector’s share of Canada’s GHG emissions fell from 15.8 percent in 2005 to 10.9 percent in 2015.[3]

In Canada, the legislature of each province has the exclusive jurisdiction to make laws in relation to the specific matters assigned to the provinces (as opposed to the federal government) under the Constitution Act, 1867, including the exploitation of renewable resources. The result is that each province has established its own market structure and regulatory framework applicable to the development of its renewable energy resources. These province-specific structures and frameworks are discussed below.

[1] National Energy Board, Canada’s Renewable Power Landscape – Energy Market Analysis 2017 (December 2017) at 10, online: <https://www.neb-one.gc.ca/nrg/sttstc/lctrct/rprt/2017cndrnwblpwr/2017cndrnwblpwr-eng.pdf> [NEB Renewables Report].

[2] Canadian Geographic, “Canadian Hydropower” (2016), online: < http://hydro.canadiangeographic.ca/>.

[3] NEB Renewables Report at 6.

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