In the electricity sector specifically, Canada begins from a position of strength with more than 60 percent of our energy coming from emissions-free hydropower. Moreover, the natural synergy that exists between hydropower storage and the production from other renewable sources such as wind and solar means hydropower is both a direct source and an enabler of climate change mitigation.

A significant shift away from fossil fuels in transportation could result in not only an increased electricity demand but a change in the profile of electricity use — think electric vehicles charging overnight.

In Ontario, where coal-fired generation has been eliminated from our supply mix, the 8,000 MW of hydropower is critically important to ensuring an affordable, reliable electricity system. Unique amongst renewables is hydropower’s flexibility, able to respond to changes in both supply and demand. Like natural gas, hydropower can be ramped up to meet peak needs and, in fact, if the electricity system is to become carbon free, hydropower’s role would only increase.

Another key sector of importance in addressing climate change is transportation, with emphasis being placed on electrification. A significant shift away from fossil fuels in transportation could result in not only an increased electricity demand but a change in the profile of electricity use — think electric vehicles charging overnight. Again, the flexibility of hydropower, both existing and new, positions Canada well with respect to taking advantage of this opportunity.

Hydropower has been providing us with clean and cost effective electricity for more than a century and, were it not for the significance of its existing contribution, Canada would be starting from a much different place in meeting climate change targets. Building on the solid foundation of hydropower, Canada can help lead the way.