October 23-25, 2023, Calgary, Alberta, BMO Center

Connect, Collaborate and Capitalize at Electricity Transformation Canada: Interview with CanREA’s Robert Hornung, Part 2

Robert Hornung interview

Learn what makes Electricity Transformation Canada different, and why now is the time to expand wind energy, solar energy and energy storage and build Canada’s decarbonized future.

Canada’s electricity transformation is vitally important, and we need to get started today. Electricity Transformation Canada will be a landmark event bringing together key decarbonization stakeholders to discuss the critical role of wind, solar and energy-storage technologies in helping Canada achieve net-zero GHG emissions. We interviewed Robert Hornung, President and CEO of the Canadian Renewable Energy Association (CanREA), to learn more.

Q: What makes ETC different from other renewable-energy events?

ETC brings together the wind, solar and energy-storage technologies that are going to be at the core of decarbonization. The IEA has stated that wind and solar must move from 9% of global electricity supply today to 68% in 2050, when the grid will be two and a half times bigger. Wind and solar aren’t the whole solution—but they are the heart of the solution. 

Electricity Transformation Canada brings together stakeholders to discuss the critical role of these three technologies and how they will interact with other technologies to enable net-zero GHG emissions to become a reality. 

We aim to bring together as diverse a group of stakeholders as possible at ETC, because cooperation is essential. We need to establish common objectives, so that regulators, governments, and industries are pulling in the same direction. This is an opportunity to discuss our shared objectives and how we can collaborate to make it happen. 

Q: Tell me about the launch of the CanREA 2050 Vision that is set to take place at ETC?

CanREA’s 2050 Vision will quantify the role of wind, solar and storage in helping Canada move towards our common net-zero goals and identify where we need to act quickly. The Vision is a call to action to step up and get to work. Only by increasing the scope of our ambition, and working together, can Canada meet these goals. The Vision will be launched at the opening plenary session of ETC, on November 17, and all are invited.

Q: Why is there a need for immediate action to expand wind energy, solar energy and energy storage? 

CanREA hopes to identify a broader range of stakeholders to promote the need for electrification, one that includes both electricity suppliers and energy end-users who are moving to reduce their GHG emissions by reducing fossil fuel use through the use of decarbonized electricity. 

We need to start working together now because this transformation will take time. 

The discussions we need to have aren’t about incremental changes today, but about what we want to see 30 years from now. We need to discuss issues and make decisions with 2050 in mind. Moving down a path that is inconsistent with 2050 will not enable Canada to meet its goals. 

New generation and transmission infrastructure takes years to build and will be in place for 30 years and more. The decisions we take today are already shaping the electricity grid of 2050. We need to ensure that our 2050 objectives are always a key consideration in these decisions.

I’m an optimist and believe that we can find a path to net-zero GHG emissions, but we all need to agree and commit to that outcome to succeed.  

Q: What are some of the transformations taking place within the renewable-energy industry? 

Most people don’t know we have massive untapped renewable energy potential in Canada. There are still some who believe that wind and solar are expensive technologies, but dramatic advances in these technologies mean they are now the lowest-cost sources of electricity available today, on a levelized cost of energy basis. 

Others sometimes raise concerns that wind and solar are variable generation technologies, but the emergence of a wide range of disruptive technologies mean that we now have a growing number of options for managing that variability that will allow us to maximize our potential to capitalize on the low costs of wind and solar. 

This includes rapid growth in energy storage and a range of distributed energy resources that provide significant flexibility for the management of electricity systems on both the supply side and the demand side. 

In the future, Canada’s electricity system needs to be:

  1. Decarbonized 
  2. Expanded to support Canada’s net-zero GHG emission target;
  3. Affordable and cost-competitive; and
  4. Reliable: 

Wind, solar and energy storage technologies will be at the heart of this system. 

Q: What are you most looking forward to at ETC? 

As the head of a member-based association that hasn’t yet had an opportunity to bring members together, I’m looking forward to having people meet face to face, strengthening relationships and fostering collaboration. 

Everyone has worked hard to get through the last 18 months of the global pandemic, and there’s a real appetite to get together now. We are ready to do that respectfully and safely. I think people in our industry will take advantage of this great opportunity to connect, share, and talk about future collaborations. 

Did you miss part 1 of this interview? Learn more about the immediate need to expand wind energy, solar energy and energy storage.

Join us November 17-19, 2021

Electricity Transformation Canada, an exciting new national conference and exhibition, will be at the centre of Canada’s transformation to a more affordable, flexible, reliable and sustainable energy system.

Launching November 17-19, 2021, at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Electricity Transformation Canada is the premier national industry event for businesses, experts and other influencers in wind, solar and other related renewable energy technologies.

For more information

Why attend? Electricity Transformation Canada? If you’re on the fence, read this.

Why exhibit? It’s the perfect place to build your brand, establish relationships, grow your business and showcase products and services

Need more info? Download our prospectus or reach out to our team. We’d be glad to hear from you!