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Reducing greenhouse gases: Alberta, Ontario and Nova Scotia shed light on how electricity is an emerging solution

Greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) in Canada’s electricity sector have declined by 34% since 2005 and further reductions are expected

Ottawa, June 18, 2019—Opportunities for Canadian provinces to achieve greater reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in the electricity sector are abundant—using approaches adapted to a province’s energy resources and economy—concludes a new report published by The Conference Board of Canada. The Powering Down Emissions report studies Alberta, Ontario and Nova Scotia’s individual pathways to further reducing GHG emissions in their electricity sectors—with a significant impact on the environment.

“Canada-wide, the electricity sector is undergoing fundamental transformation. In each province, electricity generators are playing a leadership role in the move to a cleaner economy. Our report demonstrates the critical role that the electricity sector is already playing in reducing Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions,” said Dr. Ovo Adagha, the lead researcher on the project. “Every province can achieve results with a different plan of action, as evidenced in Nova Scotia, Ontario and Alberta.  Provinces are capitalizing on their unique opportunities and challenges and creating bespoke roadmaps for future improvement.”

Highlights from Powering Down Emissions (June 2019)


  • Electricity demand in Alberta has grown 15% since 2005.
  • Despite rising demand, GHG emissions from Alberta’s electricity sector have declined over the past decade and fell by 5.4% in 2016.
  • The decline in emissions can be attributed to a shift in Alberta’s generation capacity towards natural gas and renewable energy generation over time.
  • Alberta’s coal phase-out program will reduce coal-fired electricity generation capacity by 60% in 2026, while GHG emissions levels will decline by 47% between 2019 and 2030.


  • In 2018 Ontario’s electricity demand rose by 4%, after years of decline.
  • About 90% of electricity in Ontario came from non- GHG-emitting sources in 2016
  • The phase out of coal-fired generation, infrastructure investments, and conservation have contributed to Ontario’s electricity sector GHG emissions declining by more than 80% since 2005.
  • Ontario’s electricity sector emissions will decline by 17% between 2019 and 2030 due to gains in energy efficiency and growing relevance of energy storage technology.

Nova Scotia

  • Nova Scotia’s electricity demand has declined by 8% since 2005.
  • Over 70% of electricity generation in Nova Scotia is from hydrocarbon sources (coal, 62%; natural gas, 16%).
  • Nova Scotia’s electricity sector GHG emissions have fallen by more than 38% since 2005 because of GHG reduction measures.
  • Nova Scotia’s electricity sector emissions will decline by about one-third by 2030 as a result of a move toward increased renewable energy production.

This report was funded by The Conference Board of Canada’s Centre for a Clean Energy Growth Economy. CEGE is building on Canada’s business and intellectual strengths to provide independent evidence for the path forward without sacrificing growth, wealth creation, sustainability, and social well-being.

Report spokespersons are Dr. Ovo Adagha (Senior Research Associate, Energy and Environment) and Michael Burt (Executive Director, Global, Industrial and Education Economics), at The Conference Board of Canada.

Download a copy Powering Down Emissions, Case Studies in Electricity Generation in Three Provinces, available for free.

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