Canada's energy systems

Posted on Monday, June 26, 2017 - 06:46 by David B. Layzell, PhD, FRSC , Benjamin Israel, MS, Bastiaan Straatman, PhD, Ralph Torrie

Energy systems – the production and use of fuels and electricity – are under intense pressure to change for the good of the environment and the economy. However, the flow of energy through these systems is not the problem. Rather it is the flow of carbon, especially when those flows bring carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) to the atmosphere where they become greenhouse gases (GHGs).

Six months ago, CESAR released Sankey diagrams for Canada showing how energy flows from the sources we extract from nature, to the demands of society for fuels and electricity. Today, we are pleased to release a new set of Sankey visualizations – the first of their kind – showing how carbon flows through the same fuel and electricity systems.


Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2016 - 06:38 by Mark Lowey, BA

As a research group focused on how best to transform Canada’s energy systems towards sustainability, CESAR was very interested in the recent release of the Trottier Energy Futures Project report, Canada’s Challenge and Opportunity: Transformations for major reductions in GHG emissions. In this blog post, Mark Lowey reviews the report’s findings, including an interview with Project Manager Oskar Sigvaldason.  


Posted on Tuesday, April 26, 2016 - 06:45 by David B. Layzell, PhD, FRSC , Ralph Torrie

The decline in the energy intensity of the Canadian economy between 1995 and 2010 reduced annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by nearly 200 Mt CO2e – at least five times more than the impact of phasing out coal-fired power in Ontario, a measure that is often cited as the single largest GHG reduction measure in North America.  Clearly, there is an elephant in the room.


Posted on Wednesday, May 14, 2014 - 09:15 by David B. Layzell, PhD, FRSC , Ralph Torrie

With all the attention paid to the growth of oil and gas production for export, it is easy to lose sight of the other side of Canada’s energy story in recent years: the dramatic increase in the productivity of fuel and electricity use in the domestic economy.


Posted on Monday, May 5, 2014 - 10:56 by David B. Layzell, PhD, FRSC

We all know that Canadian provinces differ greatly in their capacity to produce energy. Less well known is how Canadians from across the nation differ in their demand for energy services.


Posted on Thursday, May 1, 2014 - 09:10 by Ralph Torrie

Visualizing Canada’s energy systems helps us to understand the challenges we face and then identify alternative pathways to a more sustainable energy future. Within CESAR, we have created some exciting new visualization tools, powered by the Canadian Energy Systems Simulator (CanESS), with its unique capacity for looking both forward and backward in time.


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