Canada Remains Lowest in Growth of Renewables

Canada's annual growth of renewable energy will be 1.6% until 2040, compared with 1.8% for the United States and 2.5% for the world, according to the latest projections from the US Department of Energy's statistical agency.

Canada's consumption of renewable energy will remain lower than most of the world, at 1.6% annual growth until 2040, compared with 1.8% for the US and 2.5% for the world.

In 2010, Canada consumed 4 quadrillion Btu (quad) of renewable energy, but this will grow to 6.4 quad in 2040, predicts the Energy Information Administration in its International Energy Outlook 2013. If the price of oil is high by the end of the period, annual growth will be 1.7% (reaching 6.5 quad) but 1.5% growth (to 6.3 quad) if the price of oil is low.

The US consumed 7 quad in 2010, which will grow to 12 quad in 2040 or 12.6 (2%) with high oil and 11.5 (1.7%) with a low oil price. The world consumed 56 quad in 2010, which will grow to 119 quad in 2040, but 125 (2.7%) if oil price is high and 115(2.4%) if low.

Canada's growth is even lower for electricity generation from renewables: green power will grow 1% per year to 2040, well behind the US annual growth rate of 2.8% and world growth of 3.2%.

Under EIA's reference scenario, the share of all renewables (towards total energy use) rises from 11% in 2010 to 15% in 2040, largely as government policies support renewables due to concerns about security of energy supply and the environmental consequences of GHG emissions. Almost 80% of the projected increase in green power will come from hydropower and wind; of the 5.4 trillion kWh of new renewable generation added over the period, 2.8 t-kWh (52%) is from hydro and 1.5 t-kWh (28%) is from wind.

High construction costs and the intermittence of wind and solar can hinder their economic competitiveness, but improved battery storage technology and dispersing wind and solar facilities over wide areas "could help to mitigate some of the problems associated with intermittency over the projection period," the report notes.

Over the next three decades, total world energy consumption will increase 56% and global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions rise 46% to 45 billion tonnes.

The reference case in the 2013 Outlook does not incorporate prospective legislation or policies that might affect energy markets.

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