On July 26, 2022, the federal government launched its second round of public engagements on the Proposed Frame for the Clean Electricity Regulations, which concluded on August 17.

The Clean Electricity Regulations consultation (formerly the Clean Electricity Standard) was first launched on March 15, 2022, by the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change. The consultations included a Clean Electricity Standard Discussion Paper.

The Clean Electricity Regulations (CER) aims to develop net-zero electricity grids across Canada by 2035. The federal government believes net-zero electricity is essential to meeting Canada’s emission reduction target of 40 to 45 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 and net-zero emissions by 2050.

The CER is being developed around three core principles:

  • Maximize greenhouse gas reductions to achieve net-zero emissions from the electricity grid by 2035;
  • Ensure grid reliability to support a strong economy and ensure Canadians are safe by having energy to support their cooling needs in the summer and warmth in the winter; and,
  • Maintain electricity affordability for homeowners and businesses.

The Proposed Frame for the CER will require utilities to meet net-zero emissions by 2035 for their electricity-generating assets. Assets burning natural gas will be required to meet low carbon emission targets that are yet to be determined. These requirements are in addition to the phase-out of coal-fired electricity generation by 2030.

In its submission, the Atlantica Centre for Energy expressed concerns the Proposed Frame will require infrastructure changes, among other implications, which would be unaffordable for residents and businesses across the region.

The Centre proposed six primary recommendations for the Proposed Frame:  

  • Cap generation emissions for a fossil-fuel burning asset annually, not per gigawatt-hour (GWh). Asset emissions should further be accounted for on a lifecycle basis;
  • Ensure federal funding programs are distributed to provinces relative to their impact from federal emission reduction regulations, such as the Clean Electricity Regulations or phase-out of coal-fired electricity generation;
  • Allow utilities to generate an additional share of carbon credits for helping reduce industrial emissions, among others;
  • Encourage ongoing regional collaboration in the development and transition of clean energy assets leading up to net-zero electricity in 2035;
  • Improve regulatory agility and harmonization for new and emerging technologies needed in the transition to net-zero electricity; and,
  • Provide sensible regulations leading up to the implementation of the Clean Electricity Regulations to provide utilities with the flexibility to better prepare and keep rates as low as possible.

You can read the Atlantica Centre for Energy’s Submission on the Proposed Frame for the Clean Electricity Regulations.