Renewable vs Non-Renewable Energy

What is renewable energy?

Renewable energy is the energy that comes from natural processes or sources that are constantly being renewed at a rate equal to or faster than the rate at which they are being used. The diverse forms of renewable energy include solar, wind, geothermal, hydropower and ocean resources, solid biomass, biogas and liquid biofuels (Source: Natural Resources Canada, nrcan.gc.ca). Canada has a vast geographic diversity with several possibilities of renewable resources to generate energy.

What is non-renewable energy

Non-renewable resources are sources of energy that will either cease to exist or will take an incredible amount of time to be replenished. The main non-renewable resources include oil, natural gas, coal, and nuclear energy.

Canada has demonstrated its interest in reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30% below the level in 2005 by the year 2030. This objective was confirmed in the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to the Paris Agreement (Source: Greenhouse gas sources and sinks, executive summary 2020).

Renewable Vs Non-renewable

Canada is successfully moving towards a future with less carbon emissions and this factor is mainly due to ongoing efforts to invest in renewable sources of energy. According to Canada’s Energy Future 2019 report, the type of energy Canadians use is changing considerably from 2018 to 2040. As shown in the figure below, by 2040 Canadians will be using more natural gas and renewable sources and less coal and oil (Source: Canada’s Energy Future 2019 report).

In addition to the decrease in the use of non-renewable resources, it is also mentioned in this report a reduction in energy use from 2018 to 2040. Green technologies are key drivers underlying the slow growth in energy use and the increase in the renewable energy share. For more information, visit Canada Energy Regulator webpage here.

In Saskatchewan, SaskPower is the crown corporation responsible for providing all transmission services and the majority of distribution services and power generation (Source: Natural Resources Canada, nrcan.gc.ca). SaskPower currently generates most of Saskatchewan’s electricity, while the other 20% is generated by independent producers (Source: 2018, Canada Energy Regulator – CER, cer-rec.gc.ca). Currently, Saskatchewan generates its energy mainly through non-renewable sources of energy such as natural gas and coal.

To meet Federal greenhouse gas emissions regulations, the future of Saskatchewan needs to be powered with cleaner options of energy. In order to meet those regulations, SaskPower is working towards its goal to reduce 40% of greenhouse gas emissions by adding more solar and wind energy into their current system. Saskatchewan’s renewable generating capacity as of the year of 2020 is approximately 23% (18% from hydro and 5% from wind). Saskatchewan’s generating capacity is shown in the pie chart: