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The Expanding Role of Renewables in the Global Electricity Market

Renewable energy is an ongoing and very active electricity sector conversation. But in the context of energy systems transformation, the discussion is now broadening to include opportunities and new technologies for heating and transportation. The latter two sectors represent 60% of world final energy consumption, and there is now an increasing focus on integrating renewables beyond traditional applications.  This edition of the Environment & Energy Bulletin examines the current global and national state of renewables in electricity markets and highlights BC's advantage, and opportunities, stemming from our 98% renewable electricity grid.


  • There is continuing strong world-wide growth in renewable electricity capacity — 154 GW between 2014 and 2015, a 9% increase — and global investment possibilities on the order of three quarters of a trillion dollars between now and 2040.
  • Canada meets 80% of its electricity needs from renewable resources, primarily hydro, one the highest rates in the world. The IEA’s 450 scenario goal is for 58% of global electricity to be generated from renewables by 2040.
  • British Columbia generates 98% of its electricity from renewable sources — exceeding the IEA’s 450 scenario goal by 40 percentage points!
  • BC has a large collection of varied domestic renewable electricity options and opportunities that could close the 2% gap and achieve 100% reliance on renewable power.
  • There are substantial global market opportunities to export BC and Canadian know-how and expertise to assist in the development of renewable electricity projects and sell related services. We should leverage what we already do well.
  • BC and Canada are leaders in the renewable electricity sector. We should be proud of our achievements, not discouraged by those who claim, misleadingly, that we are laggards.
  • Canada and BC should be actively marketing our technical, engineering and management know-how in electricity to the rest of the world. 

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