Canada’s net-zero pledge needs all-in commitment, says SNC-Lavalin

March 15, 2021, 12:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe

A new technical report from Montreal-based SNC-Lavalin finds Canada’s stated goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 to be achievable but stresses the importance of immediate action and investment in all forms of low-carbon energy production, including nuclear, hydro, renewables, carbon capture and storage, and hydrogen.

According to the 100-page document, Engineering Net Zero, Canada needs to triple its power production levels over the next 30 years, as forecasts show demand growing from 500 TWh to 1,500 TWh.

A 28-page executive summary of the report is available online.

Recommendations: Actions to be taken immediately, according to the report, include:

■ Establishing a federal-provincial committee for the Canadian electrical grid to enable greater reliability, resiliency, and efficiency through interprovincial ties.

■ Initiating early-build projects for energy sources, such as hydro and nuclear, where a single plant easily takes more than 10 years to develop. Other renewable resources, such as wind and solar, should be developed quickly to meet load increases.

■ Expediting and funding pilot carbon capture and storage projects as quickly as possible, which are the key to eliminating the balance of greenhouse gas emissions from energy-intensive processes.

■ Accelerating current hydrogen (and other alternative fuels) research programs, with a minimum number of demonstration projects.

■ Consulting industry in the development of the net-zero 2050 plan to ensure concrete, measurable, and coordinated efforts are put in place and to maximize the return on investment for Canadians, both from a financial- and environmental-impact perspective.

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