What is the Green Energy Transition
Written By: Maya Ardon
Edited By: Vanessa Lu Langley
" The energy transition is the path to replacing fossil fuels with sustainable alternatives by 2050, and can provide social and environmental solutions to many worldwide issues."
The energy transition refers to the shift from fossil-based energy activities to renewable energy by 2050, in order to decarbonize the global energy sector (IRENA). Lessening, and ultimately eliminating, carbon dioxide emissions from the energy sector is a crucial step in combating climate change (greenhouse (GHG) effect). Through the integration of renewable energy in daily life, society can move towards sustainability.
According to the United Nations, the transition needs to become a transformational effort with ambitious and targeted actions in order to achieve a decarbonized energy system by 2050 (United Nations, 2021). The energy transition can provide solutions to many global issues, such as fighting climate change, achieving sustainable development, and improving human welfare by minimizing pollution (United Nations, 2021).
The integration of renewable energy is relevant for McGill students as 95% of Quebec’s energy is generated by hydroelectric stations. Hydropower is an example of a renewable energy source, using dams or other structures to change the natural flow of water to generate electricity (Energy.gov). Hydro is the leading electricity source in Quebec, followed by wind power; wind provided about 4% of electricity in comparison in 2018. While Quebec continues to take part in fossil-fuel based activities – notably, petroleum products are refined in Quebec for gasoline consumption and account for the largest fuel type consumed in Quebec – the province’s GHG emissions per capita are among the lowest in Canada (Canadian average is 19.6 tonnes per capita) (Canada Energy Regulator, 2021). TLDR: almost all electricity produced in Canada comes from renewable sources.
Energy Transition. International Renewable Energy Agency. (n.d.). Retrieved February 24, 2022, from https://www.irena.org/energytransition
Secretariat of the High-level Dialogue on Energy 2021. (2021). Theme Report on Energy Transition: Towards the Achievement of SDG 7 and Net-Zero Emissions. United Nations. https://www.un.org/sites/un2.un.org/files/2021-twg_2-062321.pdf
Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. (n.d.). How Hydropower Works. Energy.gov. https://www.energy.gov/eere/water/how-hydropower-works
Canada Energy Regulator. (2021, July 19). Provincial and Territorial Energy Profiles – Quebec. Canada.ca. https://www.cer-rec.gc.ca/en/data-analysis/energy-markets/provincial-territorial-energy-profiles/provincial-territorial-energy-profiles-quebec.html