The assessment of net costs for three net-zero scenarios (NZ60, NZ50 and NZ45) and two baseline scenarios (REF, CP30) suggests that significant investments in the electrification of Canada’s primary energy sector from 2016 to 2050 are required in net-zero scenarios. These are larger than the investments needed in baseline scenarios. However, after 2050, net-zero scenarios may lead to significant net savings due to decreases in fossil fuel consumption. As such, infrastructure investments in the early stages of transitions will be compensated by lower fossil fuel expenditures in the following decades. These results are comparable to those obtained in other studies, notably the conclusions of the Energy PATHWAYS model, in which large infrastructure expenditures in the U.S. are necessary to capture important cost savings afterwards (Larson et al., 2020).
Comparisons can also be drawn between previous studies on investment-to-GDP ratios. The results from this model suggest that annualized net costs range between 0.3% and 1.5% of GDP. Similar values were obtained for the cost of energy transitions in the European Union (D’Aprile et al., 2020) and Germany (Andor et al., 2017; Unnerstall, 2017). After carbon neutrality is reached, net-zero scenarios show net savings between 0.5% and 3.4% of GDP. While the figures in this chapter should not be interpreted as the output of a precise budgeting tool, the results indicate that energy transitions in Canada are not outlandish and are in fact economically feasible.