Transforming energy production in net-zero pathways


Canada is a major energy producer and exporter. As such, its energy production will be deeply affected both by changes in demand and by constraints on GHG emissions. These changes will differ from one province to the other, in correlation with resource distribution, availability and the evolution of the import/export market, which is particularly important as more than half of Canada’s primary energy production is destined for export. This chapter covers the evolution of primary energy production and the production of electricity for the country as a whole.


  • Energy production is significantly and rapidly transformed in all net-zero scenarios.
  • All net-zero scenarios require an accelerated transformation of the economy away from the fossil fuel industry, even before 2030; not doing so will require ever-larger emission capture quantities to reach net-zero, making these paths more costly.
  • Oil and gas production need to decrease significantly even before 2030 in order for production emissions to remain compatible with longer-term net-zero objectives
  • The dramatic expansion of electricity generation required in net-zero scenarios is met in large part by variable solar and wind; the role of energy storage, particularly over the medium (weeks) and long term (months), could greatly affect this expansion.
  • Bioenergy production expands, especially to produce biofuels and generate electricity with emission capture (BECCS), although this expansion is limited by constraints on the availability of biomass and of competing non-energy applications.
  • Energy exports are affected by the evolution of international markets and the pace required to reduce domestic production on the path to net-zero emissions.
  • Imports are reduced as well; however, this reduction improves the trade balance.