Hydropower will continue to dominate annual power generation in Canada to 2030

Source: press release, 9 November 2021

Annual generation share by technology in Canada’s power market, 2020-2030 (source: GlobalData Power Intelligence Center)
Annual generation share by technology in Canada’s power market, 2020-2030 (source: GlobalData Power Intelligence Center)

Hydropower held a share of 60.2% in total annual generation in Canada in 2020 and this share is expected to marginally decline to 58% in 2030; however, it will continue to hold the dominant share in Canada’s generation mix, according to GlobalData, a data and analytics company.

Rohit Ravetkar, Power Analyst at GlobalData, says, “Canada is among the global leaders in hydropower generation, with several provinces in the country, including British Colombia, Quebec, and Manitoba, generating over 90% of their electricity from hydropower. Further, several large and small hydro plants are under construction in the country, which will aid hydropower to continue its dominance in Canada’s power mix until 2030.”

According to GlobalData’s report, Canada Power Market Outlook to 2030, Update 2021 – Market Trends, Regulations, and Competitive Landscape, installed hydropower capacity increased from 68.9 Gigawatts (GW) in 2000 to 81 GW in 2020, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 0.8%. By 2030, the installed hydropower capacity is expected to reach 85.1 GW, growing at a CAGR of 0.5% from 2020 to 2030.

Canada is expected to rapidly increase pumped storage facilities to maintain supply security during peak demand. By 2030, the Canadian Government is planning to phase out coal power and the decommissioned capacity is expected to be replaced by gas-fired plants. Nuclear power capacity is also expected to decline with the Ontario Power Generation company decommissioning the Pickering nuclear power plant’s units 1 and 4 in 2024 and units 5 to 8 in 2025. This capacity is expected to be replaced by hydro and renewable power sources.

Ravetkar adds, “The Canadian Government’s focus on hydropower technology and stable power supply in the country are resulting in slow growth of its renewable sector. Although the government has come up with several policies and incentives aimed towards the renewable sector, the country is still expected to go ahead with hydropower as the major generation source until 2030.”

“The country is easily satisfying its power demand from its large hydropower capacity and with no sudden increase in the power demand expected during the 2021 to 2030 period, the renewable sector will grow gradually. From a share of 8.2% in annual generation in 2020, the renewable power generation share is expected to reach only 12.9% in 2030. Even geothermal and offshore wind plants, which are expected to start operations from 2024 and 2026 respectively, will not help much in increasing the share of renewables in the power mix as their capacity growth will be limited,” continues Ravetkar.