Canadian electricity
powering communities

Industry Partners

About Electricity

Canada has been an electricity pioneer and innovator from the start of the electric age in the late 1800s. Since that time Canadian generation has benefited from innovation and diversification. The industry generates electricity from every possible source and is a leader in developing new approaches and technologies. It has a reputation for providing safe, reliable, affordable, and environmentally sound electricity. Over 80 percent of Canada’s electricity generation comes from the lowest possible greenhouse gas emitting sources.

Canada’s major sources of electricity generation include:

Canada’s electricity system is connected to US power grids at multiple points. Electricity exports help reduce greenhouse gas emissions domestically and internationally by displacing higher emitting sources. The industry is positioned to do more.



The North American power grid is an integrated network of power lines, generation facilities, and related communications systems, referred to as “the world’s largest machine.” It continues to expand, with cross-border transmission projects currently in various stages of development.

Much of our current way of life is only possible with electricity. In addition to its well-known household uses of heat and light, it powers the critical infrastructure that we have come to rely upon. Electricity systems are essential to commerce, health, safety, security, and communications.

Technological innovation is making the grid “smarter” every day. A smarter power grid integrates the electricity system with telecommunications and financial services. It makes the system more responsive, reliable, and efficient.

Environmental & Social Governance (ESG)

Canada’s electricity industry is well-positioned to meet Canada’s commitment to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. Because it is already a low-emission energy source, it will be key to accelerating Canada’s transition to an overall low-emission energy system. The industry will continue to invest in grid modernization and in the infrastructure required to power Canada’s transportation, buildings, and industrial processes.

Any energy future must include meaningful relationships with Canada’s Indigenous peoples. Remote generation sources and transmission infrastructure can have a disproportionate impact on Indigenous communities. The industry strives to be responsive to their concerns and respectful of their rights. Project developers are exploring innovative ways – including partnerships – in which to ensure that industry development is compatible with Indigenous peoples’ welfare. At the same time, government and industry are searching for ways to reduce remote communities’ reliance on diesel-generated electricity, replacing it with local renewable options such as wind, solar, or biomass.


Hydropower converts kinetic energy in falling or flowing water, into mechanical energy, and then into electrical energy and though there are several ways to generate power from moving water, all are completely renewable.

Canada is an expert on hydropower, sourcing power to Canadians for over 100 years. In Canada, hydropower provides nearly 60 per cent of total electricity, with an installed capacity soon exceeding 85,000 MW – making Canada the third largest generator of hydroelectricity in the world. And this capacity could be doubled.

According to the industry association that represents Canada’s waterpower facilities and producers, Waterpower Canada, if only half of Canada’s total undeveloped potential was built it could make a substantial contribution to the transition to electric vehicles in Canada and in the U.S. That would be in addition to the existing hydropower-based electricity flows from Canada across the U.S., which extend from New York, the New England states, the Midwest, and the Pacific Northwest


Since Canada became a nuclear nation in 1945, Canada’s nuclear industry has developed a reputation for innovation and safety, which also brings economic benefits to Canada.

Canada has a vibrant nuclear industry based on both the third-largest uranium reserves in the world and an exceptional cadre of skilled professionals. The country is the world’s sixth-largest uranium exporter (75 per cent of production is exported) and generates 15 per cent of its electricity supply from nuclear facilities.

In total, Canada operates 19 CANDU reactors domestically and has exported this unique, Canadian, innovation overseas with 10 CANDU reactors operating outside of Canada.

And the safe development of Canada’s nuclear industry is a priority for governments across the country. Canada is a signatory of the 1970 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and has created a Small Modular Reactor (SMR) Action Plan to guide future development of Small Modular Nuclear Reactors.

  • Canada exports approximately $1 billion (CAD) per year in uranium — mostly to the United States, Europe and Asia.
  • It is estimated that the global market for small modular reactors (SMRs) will be CAD $150 billion annually by 2040.
  • Ontario’s Bruce Nuclear Generating Station is among the largest in the world in terms of installed capacity.
  • In Saskatchewan – site of Canada’s richest and largest uranium reserves – the industry paid $272 million (CAD) in salaries in 2020


Canada has been a leader in nuclear innovation since 1961, when its flagship power reactor, CANDU, first went into operation. Its innovations include the ability to continue operations during refuelling, as well as the use of natural uranium. A CANDU reactor based in Canada featured the first reaction controlled by a computer, now a global standard. Canada has exported this technology to Argentina, China, India, Pakistan, Romania and South Korea for a total of 30 CANDU reactors in operation globally.

Several Canadian designs for small modular reactors (SMRs) are also under development which would foster off-grid, industry and remote applications of nuclear energy.

Canada is a key player in the international supply chain of several medical isotopes, including Cobalt-60, used in cancer radiation treatments, sterilizing medical devices and treatment of food and consumer products; and Iodine-125 used for a number of medical uses.

And the innovation doesn’t stop there. Alongside the United States and Japan, Canada is one of the three lead members in the Nuclear Innovation: Clean Energy Future initiative (NICE Future), a global forum on the peaceful and responsible use of nuclear power in new countries and sectors of the economy.

Environmental & Social Governance (ESG)

Nuclear power does not emit any greenhouse gases in operation and is readily expandable as Canada has an abundant supply of uranium and production does not require significant land use. According to the World Nuclear Association, the world’s 445 reactors are saving 2.5 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide emissions every year.

Spent uranium makes up about three per cent of the volume of nuclear waste worldwide. Facilities that handle or transport spent fuel and nuclear by-products are carefully regulated, monitored and licensed by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) as well as domestic and international regulators, including the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Canada’s nuclear industry works in partnership with Indigenous communities and seeks to apply Indigenous Knowledge to all areas of operation.


Wind turbines use the power of the wind to generate electricity, generating no greenhouse-gas emissions or pollution.

Wind turbines come in different sizes and can be deployed in different configurations. In Canada, the overwhelming majority of wind turbines are utility-scale and deployed onshore to feed power directly into the electricity grid.

Wind turbines have been deployed by corporations, First Nations, municipalities, and community organizations across Canada providing significant economic benefits to hundreds of communities across Canada.

Wind is one of the fastest growing sources of electricity and the lowest cost source of new electricity generation in Canada. Wind electricity capacity was 13,588 MW in 2020. There has been more wind-energy capacity installed in Canada over the last decade than any other form growing from 444 megawatts in 2004 to 13,417 megawatts in 2019.


Solar converts energy from the sun into electricity through a technology called photovoltaic (PV) cells. This technology can be used at vastly different scales from powering a calculator to powering a home. In addition to powering homes and businesses, multiple solar panels can be deployed at a utility-scale, providing power directly to the electricity grid or helping to meet the energy needs of remote, off-grid communities. In Canada, there are more than 43,000 solar energy installations on residential, commercial and industrial rooftops, providing power directly to those homes and businesses.

Total Canadian solar capacity in 2019 was 3,273 MW, which includes producers with under 1 MW capacity. Among solar farms with capacity above this level total capacity was over 2,000 MW.