CEAC report highlights energy transition’s potential to enhance affordability and reliability

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In May 2023, the minister of natural resources convened an independent, electricity sector-focused expert advisory body known as the Canada Electricity Advisory Council (CEAC) with a mandate to recommend strategies that enable the rapid expansion of clean electricity. The dual objective of the CEAC is to decarbonize the existing electricity system while also growing that system sufficiently to help other sectors of the economy achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.  

The CEAC’s work focuses on five core themes, aiming to guide national, provincial, and territorial efforts towards sustainable, affordable, and reliable electricity systems. On June 10, 2024, after a year of collaboration with utility and regulatory stakeholders across the country, the CEAC released  Powering Canada: A blueprint for success report, emphasizing the four cornerstones of success: speed, affordability, reliability and Indigenous participation.  


The report's findings indicate that the electricity transition holds promising prospects for enhancing affordability for most Canadians. If the recommendations of the committee are implemented, projections indicate significant potential savings for consumers resulting from a transition to cheap renewable energy and lower costs associated with electrified transportation and home heating. Benefits include: 

  • Up to $15 billion per year by 2050 in total energy-related costs savings. 

  • 7 out of 10 Canadian households are expected to enjoy net savings averaging $1,500 annually. 

  • 58 per cent of low-income households are also anticipated to experience net savings. 

These findings directly contradict a misleading add campaign unveiled last year by the Government of Alberta which targets N.S. and N.B. The EAC calls on policymakers across Canada to advance the recommendations outlined in the report to make life more affordable in Atlantic Canada, and to refrain from spreading misinformation which falsely presents inaction on climate change as an effort to address affordability concerns.  

While transitioning away from expensive, coal-fired electricity in N.S. will offer new opportunities to reduce the cost of living for Nova Scotians, it will be crucial to explore measures to further support lower-income households to ensure no one is left behind. Recommendations from the recently released report A Way Forward: A Made-in-Nova Scotia Home Energy Affordability Program – which offers a four-pronged strategy tailored to the unique needs of Nova Scotians – provides valuable insights and suggestions to help households facing energy poverty. 

Enabling Interprovincial transmission projects like the Atlantic Loop 

The report calls on the governments to advance measures to enable and support “inter-regional transmission aimed at lowering the cost of decarbonization,” outlining several ways in which such projects can provide both cost savings and reliability benefits to ratepayers.  The council points to established frameworks for planning in Europe and the U.S. designed to facilitate cooperation on inter-regional energy projects. Implementing a similar framework in Canada could establish:  

  • Rules governing cost allocation between provincial and federal government, to limit drawn-out negotiations between governments. 

  • Mechanisms to accelerate project approval and permitting. 

  • Increased federal funding for transmission projects using Investment Tax Credits. 

  • Policies that enable the federal government to facilitate the reserving of transmission capacity rights, which would ensure dependable supply of electricity from one province to another. 

Connecting Nova Scotia’s power grid to Quebec as part of the Atlantic Loop project represents the best way to lower emissions and ensure access to affordable and reliable power. The recommendations outlined in the CEAC’s report demonstrate a path to achieving an interconnected grid across Canada – which can be achieved by learning from the example set by others. Both federal and provincial policymakers must act quickly and deliberately to implement these recommendations to the benefit of ratepayers. 


Transitioning to a clean energy system is found to increase supply options and reduce peak demand, enhancing grid reliability and resiliency for power grids across the country. By facilitating interties and increasing federal support for energy efficiency, policy makers can mitigate the risks associated with peak events like cold snaps and heat waves. It also addresses short-term (e.g., low wind or sun, unplanned shutdowns), and mid/long-term (e.g., hydro droughts) supply risks.  

Contrary to the Alta. government's misleading add campaign, the report highlights the potential to achieve a more reliable and resilient grid through a transition away from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources. Recent blackouts in Alta., Sask. and N.S. – all provinces with coal-reliant power grids – should serve as another reminder that fossil fuels can be unreliable and lack resiliency when faced with extreme weather events. 

Indigenous participation 

The report underscores the significance of advancing economic reconciliation as part of the transition to clean electricity. Increased long-term funding and support to enable renewable energy project ownership, along with the expansion of the Indigenous Loan Guarantee Program, are measures identified as a key to advancing economic reconciliation in the context of the energy transition. The EAC calls for the implementation of these recommendations, in additions to recommendations aimed at building capacity to advance the energy transition in northern and remote communities 

Clean electricity regulations 

The EAC echoes the CEAC’s recommendation to finalize the federal Clean Electricity Regulations as soon as possible. The EAC calls on the federal government to limit increased flexibilities beyond the measures proposed in their consultation process update in February, and to maintain the proposed 20-year end-of-prescribed life provision for gas plants to ensure that gas-fired electricity generation does not play an outsized role in the electricity transition. 


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