Energy Projects and Net Zero by 2050: Can we build enough fast enough?

A White Paper published as part of Positive Energy’s latest research project

Traffic intersection as a background for PE web banner
This study focuses on the influence of public sector project decision-making processes on investor confidence and the capacity to attract capital for major energy projects.
no text traffic banner

Energy Projects and Net Zero by 2050: Can we build enough fast enough?

A White Paper published as part of Positive Energy’s latest research project
Click to read the publication (PDF, 721KB)

The Context:

There are many challenges to realizing the goal of net zero by 2050. Increasingly, it is becoming apparent that one of the most important lies in the investment environment, specifically, the need for policy and regulation that support investment in and timely decision-making for all the new energy infrastructure Canada needs to transform its energy system and the broader economy.

Reforming policy and regulation begins with an understanding of the various steps that any major infrastructure project must go through in Canada. This helps to uncover challenges and obstacles that hinder progress and, importantly, helps to develop solutions to investment environment challenges.

About the Study:

This study examines all types of major energy projects, including renewable, oil and gas (including CCUS), and nuclear energy, and encompassing supply, transportation, and storage to expand understanding of the various steps of formal public sector decision-making processes for major energy infrastructure projects, set in the context of the full project cycle.

The first component involved a look back at 18 projects located across the country over the last twenty years.  Each high-level profile, based on information in the public domain, considered the project's timeline from inception to in-service (or cancellation where this was the outcome). A key finding is that the entire policy and regulatory system shapes project timelines.

The second component involved a look forward through 26 interviews with knowledgeable senior leaders, principally from companies, trade associations, Indigenous organizations, and the finance and investment community, to identify impediments to future projects and ideas for reforming various public approval systems.

The recommendations fall into two sets of packages: both within and beyond the regulatory system. Indeed, regulatory reform, although essential, is only part of the solution to the challenge of building projects to meet the goal of net zero by 2050.

Action within the regulatory system is complex but tractable and should focus on governments providing policy direction for projects while regulators focus on assessments; improved intergovernmental relations and better delineating federal and provincial roles; organization culture change where needed to support the need for new projects; and strengthened intra-governmental coordination.

Efforts beyond the regulatory system concern the critical need for predictability and clarity of policy, strategy and vision across jurisdictions; planning the energy future, with an emphasis on who pays for what, how and when; and building the capacity of public, private and civil society organizations to contribute to achieving net zero.

Share your Feedback

This White Paper is being widely distributed and we look forward to your feedback. Please submit comments to Positive Energy Project Coordinator Dr. Patricia Larkin, [email protected].

view of the rideau canal and the University of Ottawa

Read more Positive Energy studies

Visit our Research Publications Page