Visualizing Canada’s Electricity Grid, Decarbonized

If Canada is to achieve a decarbonized electricity grid by 2035, while also keeping up with rising electricity demand, we have work to do.

A partner message from Foresight

Electricity technology plays a pivotal role in decarbonizing the world’s energy grids and enabling the widespread electrification needed to achieve net zero. 

Canada is globally recognized for its innovation in many of its natural resource sectors like mining, forestry, and clean energy generation, among others. So it’s not surprising that Canada derives over 80 per cent of its electricity from renewable and non-emitting sources. On a global scale, this gives Canada a competitive advantage (both environmentally and economically), as clean electricity supply becomes a bigger factor for investors, companies, and project developers looking to put down new roots and fund new projects.

As a frontrunner in clean electricity technology development, Canada is strategically positioned to be among the first countries to reach net zero, and has an opportunity to be a global leader in clean electricity exports.

But even with the impressive utilization of its vast natural resources, Canada still has many challenges to overcome. If Canada is to achieve a decarbonized electricity grid by 2035, while also keeping up with rising electricity demand, we have work to do.

The electricity sector will need to make significant adaptations, but how can we do that without understanding the sector as a whole? Without visualizing the strengths, gaps, connections, areas of opportunity?

Enter Ventures to Value Chains: Electricity Edition

To achieve a net zero energy sector and clinch Canada’s position as a world leader in clean energy technologies, having a thorough understanding of the country’s electricity technology ecosystem is a must. This is why Foresight, Canada’s largest cleantech innovation and adoption accelerator, embarked on a mission to visualize and explore Canada’s key net zero value chains. 

Foresight’s Ventures to Value Chains reports and maps leverage Foresight’s extensive cleantech industry knowledge, data, and research capabilities. They map, categorize, and analyze Canada’s strategically important industry value chains for a net zero economy, including Agri-Food, Forest Bioeconomy, Mining, Carbon, and Water. The most recent of these highly visual and actionable reports is Canada’s Ventures to Value Chains: Electricity Technology.

If Canada is going to capitalize on the opportunity to lead in the development, commercialization, and export of electricity technology, it is crucial that we understand the strengths, gaps, and opportunities that exist across its electricity technology sector. 

“AHA!” Moments from the Electricity Value Chain

Canada’s Ventures to Value Chains: Electricity Technology uncovered key themes that will help Canada realize its goals of a zero-emissions energy grid to power a competitive, net zero economy. Electricity’s journey from source to customer is fascinating. Foresight’s value chain map outlines the processing steps, inputs, and outputs, describing how electricity is generated, transmitted, distributed, stored, and managed. 

Some key takeaways: 

  • There are 245 companies across Canada’s electricity value chain

  • The majority of companies  focus on storage, distributed electricity generation, and distribution

  • Solar is Canada’s most common electricity generation technology, and is an area of strength in Ontario

  • Areas seeing strong growth include electrochemical energy storage and hydrokinetic generation technology, though Canadian hydrokinetic is still in early stages 

  • British Columbia has the largest number of electricity generation companies along the value chain, with applications for rural and remote communities

The Importance of Understanding Value Chains 

Knowing where a company fits along the value chain, which companies or technologies come before or after, who the competitors are, and where trends are happening geographically is key for ventures, industry, and investors to understand.

This information is also critically important for governments. Visualizing the value chain in this way helps to identify areas of sectoral strength, gaps, and opportunities. It allows decision-makers to pinpoint where targeted R&D and project funding should be allocated to deliver the greatest return on investment for Canada’s economic development, communities, and environment.

It’s an incredibly valuable tool for planning the future economy, and Foresight wants more innovators, decision-makers, and net zero transition-enthusiasts to see the interconnectivity and opportunity in the electricity sector. 

Get Your Copy, Free 

Until April 3rd, 2024, Calgary Tech Journal readers can download Canada’s Ventures to Value Chains: Electricity Technology report for FREE ($1,000 value). Get your free copy.