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Energy Powering Opportunity
June 10-12, 2025
BMO Centre at Stampede Park - Calgary, Canada

Renewable Energy for Decarbonizing - Updating Electricity Infrastructure - Global Energy Show

Decarbonizing, Decentralizing & Digitalizing the Electricity System is Critical to Reaching Net-Zero

Canada is aiming to hit net-zero emissions by 2050. In order to achieve this goal, Canadians need to lower carbon emissions and transition to renewable energies like solar power, wind power, and hydrogen. 

Canadian Renewable Energy Association (CanREA) advocates on behalf of renewable energy industries to help better Canada's energy future. They believe that by increasing stakeholder understanding of new energy technologies, they can implement them better, allowing Canada to hit 2050 net-zero goals.

Robert Hornung, President, and CEO at CanREA sat down with Rachel Gregory, Digital Host at The Global Energy Show, to discuss CanREA's 2050 vision and the crucial role that green hydrogen, solar, and wind power will play in reaching Canada's net-zero targets.

Decarbonizing, decentralizing & digitalizing the electricity system is critical to reaching net zero

Predicting the Future Energy Mix

Rachel: Robert, in your opinion, what do you think the energy mix will look like in the next decade?

Robert: We are under tremendous pressure to decarbonize our energy systems, and we're under tremendous pressure to reduce burning fossil fuels going forward. We expect increased and decarbonized electricity, largely made from renewable power sources, and for the electricity system to continue evolving and changing significantly.

We will move from a one-way system today, where we have large generating stations that transmit power to users, to a two-way system, where users are also generating electricity, and we're moving it back and forth.

We have technologies like smart grid technologies and distributed energy resources that enable us to have a future electricity system that is much more decarbonized, decentralized, and digitized. This will allow us to increase energy efficiency in our production transmission and energy use going forward.

CanREA’S 2050 Decarbonization Goals 

Rachel: Can you tell us more about CanREA’s 2050 vision? What are the key takeaways? 

Robert: The key takeaway is that if we're serious about meeting net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, Canada will need to decarbonize its electricity system by 2035. We will need to expand its electricity production, probably doubling electricity production so that we can use that electricity to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions in transportation and infrastructure industries. And we're going to rely very heavily on wind and solar energy as the key sources of that new electricity because they represent the lowest cost sources of decarbonized electricity available to Canada today and they're widely dispersed and available throughout the country.

The Importance of Integrated Energy 

Rachel: What is your opinion on integrated energy? How important is collaboration between energy systems? 

Robert: It's increasingly important going forward. We've tended to think of the electricity and the transportation systems and the use of energy and buildings as separate systems. Increasingly, we're going to find that they are interrelated, that we're using electricity in other sectors. And we need to think about the system as a whole. We can't have these silos anymore. We must look at how we can most efficiently use energy across these systems. That relates to the production of energy, the use of energy, and the transmission of energy. In all of these areas, we want to be as efficient as possible using the lowest cost and lowest carbon resources available to enable us to meet our needs. 

Projections of Growth for Renewables in the Next Decade

Rachel: Since 2015, Canada saw the largest growth in solar in 2021. What are the projections of growth for renewables within the next decade? Can you tell us about some upcoming projects?

Robert: In our 2050 vision, we suggest that Canada must expand its wind and solar energy capacity tenfold over the next 30 years. That will require us to accelerate the deployment of these technologies by eight times relative to what we've been doing in recent years. 2021 was a good year, a step forward. We installed 1,000 megawatts of new wind and solar energy capacity. We anticipate installing 3,000 megawatts in 2022 and 2023. So, we're moving in the right direction, but we need to install over 5,000 megawatts a year to achieve the level of deployment we need to meet our net-zero targets. So there's still a lot of work to do.

The Importance of Green Hydrogen in Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Rachel: Let's talk about hydrogen. It's a hot topic in Canada right now. Why should people be paying attention? Can you tell us more about what's happening in green hydrogen?

Robert: Hydrogen will also play an important role in helping us meet our net-zero greenhouse gas emission target. There are several areas where electricity is not going to be a cost-effective alternative to the use of natural gas and other fossil fuels at this point. But hydrogen can play that role, and hydrogen can be produced from many different sources, including electricity.

We're seeing pilot projects emerging across the country regarding hydrogen development. Ultimately, we expect green hydrogen produced from renewable electricity will be cost-competitive with any other form of hydrogen by the early 2030s. We actually expect that consumer and customer electricity demand will favour green hydrogen going forward as people seek to reduce the overall life cycle of greenhouse gas emissions produced.

Learn More About Renewable Energy for Decarbonizing in the Energy Industry

With the rising concerns of energy processes that produce greenhouse gas emissions, a turn towards renewable energy is the future. Canadian Renewable Energy Association is a great example of a company that is amplifying the need for change as we aim to reach net-zero emissions goals by 2050.


If you're interested in learning more about topics like renewable energy from those actively changing the game in North America's energy industry, register for the next Global Energy Show today.

Renewable Energy for Decarbonizing - Updating Electricity Infrastructure - Global Energy Show

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