The main objective of this paper is to explore deep decarbonization pathways for the Canadian energy sector that would allow Canada to participate in global mitigation efforts to keep global mean surface temperatures from increasing by more than 2° Celsius by 2100. Our approach consists in deriving minimum cost solutions for achieving progressive emission reductions up to 2050 using the North American TIMES Energy Model (NATEM), a detailed multi-regional and integrated optimization energy model. With this model, we analyze a baseline and two 60% reduction scenarios of combustion related emissions by 2050 from 1990 levels, with different assumptions regarding projected demands for energy services and availability of technology options for carbon mitigation. The first reduction scenario includes only well-known technologies while the second one considers additional disruptive technologies, which are known but are not fully developed commercially. Results show that three fundamental transformations need to occur simultaneously in order to achieve ambitious GHG emission reduction targets: electrification of end-use sectors, decarbonization of electricity generating supply, and efficiency improvements. In particular, our results show that electricity represents between 52% and 57% of final energy consumption by 2050, electricity generating supply achieves nearly complete decarbonization by 2025 and final energy consumption decreases by 20% relative to the baseline by 2050.
Published December 2016 , 20 pages
This cahier was revised in March 2017