Canada has continued to harvest its vast natural resources and witnessed a shale revolution alongside rising oil sands production and investment in the energy sector over the past five years. The medium-term outlook for gas/oil production and exports, however, is challenging amid uncertainties around pipeline developments and an era of low prices, abundant global supplies and surging production in the United States, Canada’s main export market.
Canada maintains the highest energy supply per capita among IEA member countries. Emissions from the oil and gas sectors increased by 14% in 2005-13, despite Canada’s low-carbon electricity mix (largely hydro and nuclear). The federal government, with the provinces, has put forward stringent energy efficiency and emission standards in the buildings, power and transport sectors, but not in industry. To strengthen its position as responsible energy supplier and user, Canada must take action to mitigate emissions and energy intensity. It can continue to develop its resources in a sustainable and cost-effective manner while balancing its economic and sustainability goals.
Canada remains at the forefront of technological and regulatory innovation in unconventional oil and gas production and carbon capture and storage (CCS) with four large-scale CCS projects under way in 2015. The country has adopted ambitious climate targets at provincial and federal levels, but the federation is far from meeting its targets for 2020 and 2030. In July 2015, the Premiers of the provinces and territories agreed a Canadian Energy Strategy. The IEA urges the federal government to seize this opportunity for collective action to meet its 2030 goals and bring certainty to investment in clean-energy technologies and renewables.
This in-depth review analyses the energy policy challenges facing Canada and provides recommendations for each energy sector, including advice for the implementation of the Canadian Energy Strategy.