Global energy demand, particularly for low or zero-emitting electricity resources, is on the rise, whereas Canadian energy markets face only moderate or gradual economic growth as the nation looks towards its post-pandemic future. While this creates opportunities to supply North American markets, it comes with the need to provide cleaner energy through more nuclear and renewable power and more natural gas. This shifting demand poses several challenges for industry participants to innovate, update infrastructure and meet greenhouse gas (GHG) emission targets.
Electricity markets in Canada are now facing an accelerating pace of change. Traditional business models are evolving, and innovation is driving the transformation and digitization of the industry. Technology, such as AI and application of blockchain infrastructure, is enabling distribution grid operators to actively manage embedded resources and to respond to outages and changes in demand more quickly. Operators’ efforts are focused on more effective energy storage, demand response, grid intertie opportunities and challenges, as well as seamlessly connecting existing systems with new power sources. The competitive landscape is also seeing the expansion of distributed energy resources.
From an operational perspective, these challenges require you to re-examine and modernize all aspects of your processes, including generation, transmission and distribution. Issues range from managing unpredictable power demand or stagnant growth, to repairing, replacing and adapting existing infrastructure, to dealing with outages and power restoration, to implementing first-of-kind project technologies such as large-scale energy storage, small modular reactor nuclear projects and hydrogen-based applications.
Alongside these developments, Canada’s complex federal, provincial and territorial regulatory landscape requires the navigation of numerous regulations, both in-force and pending. Changes typically focus on tightening environmental mandates driven by the Government of Canada’s commitment to reduce GHG emissions by 30% below 2005 levels by 2030 and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
How we can help
Osler’s top-tier team of power and utilities legal professionals — our Power Group is ranked Band 1 in Chambers Canada, one of the world’s leading legal directories — have represented Canadian, U.S. and international clients on many of the highest profile transactions and projects in the electricity sector. Our unparalleled transactional and commercial experience ensures our legal advisors have a cutting edge understanding of the relevant issues and the latest developments. We also have a dominant litigation and dispute resolution presence in the industry, acting for large utilities across the country in employment matters, class actions and more. Leveraging our “one-firm” approach, Osler has become a one-stop shop for major clients doing energy business in Canada.
At Osler, we understand the complexities of the regulatory frameworks and policy issues facing power generators using every fuel source, including natural gas, wind, hydro, biomass, biogas, geothermal, solar, nuclear, oil and coal. We advise on the procurement, financing, construction and development of major power projects, including generation, transmission and distribution, as well as high-profile transactions and regulatory matters, for both the public and private sectors and domestic and international clients.