Building Power for the Future

It takes major investments and long term planning to ensure electricity infrastructure is in place where and when we need it.

For years, Canadians have benefitted from the decisions and investments made by previous generations – in hydro, nuclear, coal and natural gas power plants. Wind, solar and other renewable energy is also coming on line. Technology keeps changing throughout the system and demand increases as population grows and new businesses open.

But as many assets near the end of their productive lives, we need to decide how we will repair, renew or replace infrastructure so that our investments ensure we have a modern grid that meets the demands of our growing population. The Conference Board of Canada has estimated that we now need as much as $350 billion invested over the next twenty years – or more than $15 billion per year. Read more of the report.

But just keeping up may not be enough. Most of us would agree that we have an obligation to leave a functioning and reliable system to our children – it is an essential part of our legacy to them. Because of the years of planning and construction required, some decisions are being made now in order to have required facilities in place and operating when they are needed.

Everywhere in Canada, electricity operators are replacing and renewing infrastructure just to keep up. Some projects are already underway. See a list of what is being built across Canada to maintain our safe, reliable and cost-effective electricity system.

Looking forward, we also have opportunity to do more than simply ensuring that what we have now is there in the future.

  • We can use new technologies and practices to increase efficiency of both production and use by consumers.
  • We can improve environmental impact by diversifying the sources of power generation to include more renewable technologies and to reduce emissions from existing technologies.
  • We can install and employ new information technologies to simplify, rationalize and make more efficient that extremely complex system of dispatching the right amount of electricity to the right places at the right times, making the electricity grid as “smart” as many other smart systems we are installing and using in our homes and cities.

Read more about CEA’s report to Canadian Premiers on how to improve Canada’s electricity system.