Hail Electricity!

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2-minute Brief

B.C. scores an A+ on the composition of fuel sources used to generate electricity, with more than 95% coming from non-greenhouse gas emitting sources. Canada is also at the top of the global list and the envy of the world, generating 80% of our electricity from renewables, primarily from water and uranium. As a result, we are ahead of the curve in terms of greenhouse gas emissions in this sector.

Electrification is seen as one of the major solutions to the problem of rising global greenhouse gas emissions. Indeed, all countries that have made visible progress in reducing such emissions in the last couple of decades have done so, in large part by shifting fuel use in the electric sector.

There are significant benefits of electrification. It is convenient and versatile, and at its immediate point of use it is the cleanest energy input. Capital investment to build more renewable generation will create economic activity and jobs. But electricity is only as clean as its source fuel; it cannot always be substituted to do the work of other energy; the spatial and land-use impacts of using more renewable electricity are substantial and efficiency is less (i.e., installed capacity versus output) since all fuels have varying power densities -- with renewables on the lower end (i.e., from 0.1 W/m2 for biofuels to 2,000 W/m2 for natural gas); and, there are yet to be resolved technical challenges with integration of intermittent renewables into existing electricity systems.