Canada is the world’s eighth-largest economy as of 2022. Nominal GDP of Canada was 1,989 billion USD in 2021 (1). Canada’s energy industry is shaped by an abundance of natural resources.Oil and natural gas are found primarily within Alberta’s oil sands, while the country also benefits from the presence of numerous hydroelectric power plants. In recent years, the government has enforced the goal of boosting Canada’s economy in tandem with transition towards a low-carbon economy through stringent energy efficiency and emission standards. When looking at the GDP of Canada by energy sector, the petroleum industry contributes by far the most. However, the country maintains largely a low-carbon electricity mix – primarily through hydroelectric turbines and nuclear reactors (2).
Adoption of hydrogen will be focused on energy-intensive applications offering advantages over other zero-carbon options. This includes using hydrogen as a fuel for long-range transportation and power generation, to provide heat for industry and buildings, and as a feedstock for heavy industrial processes such as steel and cement making ( 3 ).
The largest current use for hydrogen, in Canada, is as a feedstock in emission-intensive industrial sectors, such as oil refining, ammonia production, methanol production and steel production. Most of this feedstock hydrogen is currently produced via steam methane reforming of natural gas without capturing and storing the carbon. Clean hydrogen presents a major opportunity for these industries to lower the carbon intensity of their products and overall emissions ( 3 ).
On 16th December 2020, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources launched the Hydrogen Strategy for Canada , an ambitious framework that seeks to position Canada as a global hydrogen leader, cementing this low-carbon and zero-emission fuel technology as a key part of our path to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 ( 4 ).
The Strategy is designed to spur investment and partnerships to establish Canada as a global supplier of hydrogen, and to increase domestic production, which will transform their energy sector. As one of the top 10 producers of hydrogen in the world, Canada will benefit from the growing global demand for hydrogen — a market that is expected to reach almost USD 12 trillion by 2050. The strategy will also be complemented by the Clean Fuel Standard, which will further drive investment and growth in Canada’s fuels sector by incentivizing the development and adoption of clean fuels such as hydrogen ( 4 ).
Canada ranked 8th in the world for installed wind energy capacity at the end of 2021 ( 5 ). According to the Canadian Renewable Energy Association, the total installed wind capacity in Canada was 14,304 megawatts (MW) in 2021.
In 2021, Canada exported USD222M in Hydrogen , making it the 14th largest exporter of Hydrogen in the world. At the same year, hydrogen was the 243rd most exported product in Canada. The main destination of Hydrogen exports from Canada are: United States (USD 169M), Germany (USD23.9M), Malaysia (USD7.43M), Hong Kong (USD3.15M), and United Kingdom (USD2.57M) ( 6 ).
Canada's East Coast has been drawing interest as a destination for wind-powered hydrogen projects, with new hydrogen projects planned in all four Atlantic provinces — some with price tags in the billions .