It’s “go time” for wind, solar, and energy storage in Canada—thanks to low costs, abundant resources, climate imperatives, and an estimated C$50-billion investment opportunity, says Vittoria Bellissimo, the Canadian Renewable Energy Association’s new president and CEO.
But tapping into that opportunity will take “all hands on deck” with “no time to waste” toward meeting its goal of net-zero electricity by 2035, the Calgary-based Bellissimo told environmental journalist David Dodge in a recent Green Energy Futures podcast for CKUA Radio.
Canada needs 30 or more gigawatts of new wind and solar energy by 2030 to meet its emissions targets and achieve a decarbonized grid, according to the association’s latest vision document. The pace to hit those targets is accelerating, with 956 megawatts of wind and solar energy added to the grid in 2021, and three gigawatts more in planning or development for both 2022 and 2023.
Bellissimo said she’s confident renewables will trump all other sources of new electricity generation in Canada due to their low cost, and because the country has an “abundant and enviable” supply of especially wind and solar. As well, they “can be deployed more rapidly and more affordably than other technologies,” making them indispensable as the climate crisis escalates.
CanREA estimates a potential $50-billion investment opportunity for Canada’s wind and solar industries. “We aim to unlock this value for our members,” Bellissimo said.
On the job since October 31, she spoke with pride about her time serving on the board of directors for Energy Efficiency Alberta (EEA). Estimating that the now-defunct organization generated almost a billion dollars in economic growth before the current provincial government shut it down, Bellissimo said the agency generated $3 in value for every $1 invested.
Alberta’s renewable energy is also “booming” thanks to its open electricity market, Green Energy Futures says. Meanwhile, Ontario is looking to procure up to 2.5 gigawatts of energy storage, while Saskatchewan plans to deploy two gigawatts of wind and solar by 2030. Quebec and Nova Scotia are also both moving to expand their renewable portfolios.