Clean electricity, Affordable energy

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New analysis from the Institute shows that a big switch from fossil fuels to clean electricity will save Canadians money.

  • The switch will save Canadians money on energy costs over time.
  • Average household spending on energy is expected to decrease 12 per cent by 2050 in Canada.
  • Provinces and territories can get billions of dollars in federal support for clean electricity.
  • Targeted provincial policies can help keep electricity bills affordable for low – and middle – income people.

Clean electricity will power Canada’s future prosperity, and underpin Canada’s climate progress. The push for it is global. The rest of the G7 countries have also committed to a clean grid by 2035. And federal funding, announced in March 2023, dedicated tens of billions of dollars for provinces and territories to upgrade and expand their grids with clean electricity. The funding will complement the proposed clean electricity standard being developed by the federal government through regulations.

This graph shows that provinces can get billions of dollars in federal support for clean electricity. The graph shows the possibilities in each province and territory.

Our analysis finds that Canadians will spend 12 per cent less on energy by 2050 than they do today. They will switch off fossil fuels to power their homes, vehicles and businesses with clean energy.

Switching away from fossil fuels will save canadians money

Our research shows that a big switch away from fossil fuels will have Canadians spending less on energy. That is because electric technologies are much more energy efficient than fossil-based ones. The cost of renewable power has also fallen dramatically over the last decade. It is now the cheapest source of new power. Wind and solar can be integrated into larger electricity systems in ways that maintain grid stability and reliability for customers.

Plus, clean electricity does not come with the price volatility of fossil fuels. The electrification of transportation and space heating can help protect people from price spikes in fossil fuels and inflation.

We find that households will save on energy costs overall despite projected gradual increases in the cost of electricity over time. But to ensure that all households get to benefit, provinces can use their policy tools to help ensure the transition remains fair and affordable for low- and middle-income households.

This graph shows provinces can make energy more affordable for households, especially the lower income ones, with targeted policy solutions.

Clean electricity is becoming an imperative for businesses

Abundant, clean, affordable electricity is increasingly a must-have for economic development in Canada and around the world. And our research shows that the clean energy sector will be a significant employer— tripling its current labour force by 2050 to provide over a quarter million jobs

Federal support can help unlock these benefits for businesses and households. We recommend that provinces sign on to the high-level conditions attached to federal support, and embrace the benefits of a big switch. 

Learn more about switching to clean energy

The Canadian Climate Institute has written extensively on the transition to clean energy in Canada.

Read our 2022 report, The Big Switch, and dig into the pathways report, Bigger, Cleaner, Smarter, as well as our policy report, Electric Federalism, for more detail on the transition to clean energy.

Download the Institute’s fact sheet, Clean Electricity in Canada.

Open letter calling for accelerated action towards non-climate polluting nationwide by 2035: Clean electricity is the heart of Canada’s economic growth.

Blogs and op-eds

Scoping papers and case studies