Home » Environment » Future of Our Planet 2023 » The Canadian Advantage: Translating Energy Leadership into a Clean Energy Future
Future of Our Planet

The Canadian Advantage: Translating Energy Leadership into a Clean Energy Future

Sponsored by:
Sponsored by:
Wendy, Chief Strategy Officer & Head of Hydrogen, Northland Power

Wendy Franks

Chief Strategy Officer & Head of Hydrogen, Northland Power

Michelle, Executive Vice President, Onshore Renewables, Northland Power 

Michelle Chislett

Executive Vice President, Onshore Renewables, Northland Power 

Wind, solar, hydrogen, and energy storage solutions. Canada has the technology for a comprehensive green energy transition.

Clean energy is the path forward for a clean, sustainable transition, and Canada has the opportunity to lead at the forefront. Our nation has long been a global leader in energy technologies, and we are well positioned to lead the green energy transition, but we can’t afford to slow progress now. 


Last year, G7 energy ministers highlighted two important goals: accelerate compliance with Paris climate goals and enhance energy security through greater reliance on low-carbon sources. Without significant reduction in emissions in the coming decade, global surface temps are expected to exceed the 1.5° C threshold set in the Paris climate agreement. The need for clean energy from renewable resources is clear and we must act now if we want to see Canada play an impactful role in building a sustainable future for generations to come. 

“In Canada, we’re fortunate to have an abundance of renewable resources, but we still have a long way to go if we’re going to hit our targets,” says Michelle Chislett, Executive Vice President, Onshore Renewables at Northland Power. “We must drive this transition forward responsibly and collaboratively and be thoughtful in how we consider balancing short-term demand with long-term vision.”

Building on a Canadian Legacy of Energy Leadership and Innovation

Northland Power, headquartered in Toronto, is a Canadian power producer that has, since 1987, been innovating at the forefront of the renewable energy sector, developing projects both domestically and abroad that support global decarbonization efforts. Experts at Northland see a clear path to Canadian ascendancy in renewable technologies, just as the country was previously ascendant in the domains of fossil fuels and nuclear energy.

“Canada has incredible renewable potential,” says Northland Power Chief Strategy Officer and Head of Hydrogen, Wendy Franks. “We have world-class wind resources on both our East and West coasts with favourable conditions for large-scale offshore wind facilities that, coupled with green hydrogen production, could help address energy security concerns and solve global energy dependencies while boosting job creation and local Canadian economies.”

Canada has incredible renewable potential.

Northland Power Chief Strategy Officer
and Head of Hydrogen, Wendy Franks

Companies like Northland have built out wind and solar projects across the country to support local grids. In Alberta, where Northland have recently acquired a 1.6 GW portfolio of solar capacity, the strong offtake market means Canadian clean energy is also supporting global corporations like Amazon and Google in reaching their net zero targets. Newer technology like hydrogen electrolysis, grid-connected battery storage and pumped hydro have been critical in overcoming one of the great challenges in the green energy transition: intermittency. As wind and solar have become more efficient and more affordable, the big question has remained, how do we keep the lights on when the wind isn’t blowing, and the sun isn’t shining? Today’s technology makes this an engineering opportunity, not a game stopper.

Northland’s new 250MW Oneida Energy Storage Project, being built in partnership with Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corporation, NRStor Inc, and Aecon Group Inc. is set to more than double Ontario’s grid storage capacity, allowing renewable energy to be saved and used at any time. 

“Oneida will deliver critical capacity to Ontario’s energy grid,” says Chislett. “This project helps to provide stability to the grid by  storing excess energy during times of over-supply and then generating energy during times of scarcity. Oneida is also an incredible example of governments working together — federal, provincial, and Indigenous — alongside industry leaders in the development of renewable energy infrastructure. It shows that we can help to build a stronger economy and support a sustainable future when we work together in collaboration.”

Green Energy Investment Can Pay Dividends

A strong commitment to renewable energy is a climate necessity, yes, but it is also an unprecedented opportunity for economic growth. 

“Renewable projects drive job creation and increased investment in local communities that leads to sustainable economic growth and prosperity in rural areas. Clean energy sector jobs are estimated to account for more than 639,200 jobs in Canada by 2030.” says Franks. “Canada’s renewable potential is also an incredible export opportunity, particularly to Europe, if we act quickly enough.” 

Realizing this opportunity, however, will require all sectors — in communities both big and small — working together. “Everyone has a role to play —  it’s not just on the shoulders of big companies,” says Chislett. “The energy transition requires partnership, collaboration, and investment at all levels if we’re going to realize our clean energy future.”  

Learn more about Northland’s work.

Next article