Achieving decarbonisation of the Canadian economy will require a profound transformation of Canada’s complex energy systems. While all parts of energy production, transportation and use are inter-connected and driven by socio-economic factors, with deep ramifications into Canada’s economy, it is already clear that extended electrification of the economy will be at the core of this transformation.
Canada lacks an independent institution/research coalition that can consistently advise stakeholders on addressing its unique challenges as it strives to achieve deep decarbonisation and extended electrification of its economy. Even though there is considerable expertise across Canada to examine isolated problems within this space, no regular mechanism exists, contrary to what is found in most OECD countries, that can bring that expertise together to address these issues in a holistic manner useful for policy makers and stakeholders.
There is no doubt that electrification of the economy represents a new territory. Robust evidence to inform policy design and decision-making is therefore needed to guide this transition in a way to ensure Canada’s economic growth and international positioning. Establishing modelling/analytical capacity will strengthen our ability to take advantage of opportunities and mitigate risks in this transition for the whole of Canada, as noted in the Generation Energy report.
As a first step, Natural Resources Canada is catalysing a network of researchers working on electrification and energy issues to respond to the challenge of a clean electric future in a more robust, coordinated manner. Natural Resources Canada has partnered with an academic institution to convene a dialogue with Canada’s electricity system modelling community from July 2019 to March 2020. The intent of the dialogue is to provide the ideas that can serve as a foundation for the establishment of a sustained network of Canadian electricity system and electrification modellers and a platform to share tools and results.
The Energy Modelling Initiative
To achieve these goals, this project, under the leadership of a small executive team, supported by a diverse advisory council but in constant contact with the community, proposes to build on recent reports and meetings, expand the available knowledge of existing expertise, launch a call for small demonstration modelling projects, gather the community in three regional meetings followed a national forum and set-up a national conversation in the community of modellers and stakeholders to develop a long-term work plan to structure the community as a part of the current structure that will information stakeholders on the best way to reach a Clean Electric Future.
The initiative is built around the following 6 tasks:
Task A – Building an exhaustive modelling inventory
Task B – Fostering relations via regional workshops
Task C – Showcasing modelling relevance and value
Task D – Convening a national forum
Task E – Synthetising modelling results
Task F – Planning for a sustainable modelling community