Renewable energy to Canada

Trends and opportunities

The market

Canada has a strong renewable energy industry. Currently, 65 per cent of electricity generated in Canada comes from renewable sources. Most of the renewable energy is being generated from hydropower, wind, solar, nuclear energy and biomass.

Canada signed the Paris Agreement (COP21) recognising the ‎need to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. According to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, this is an opportunity to build a sustainable economy based on clean technology, green infrastructure and green jobs. Canada intends to create a climate change framework, to assist with implementing the Paris agreement.


Canada has announced plans to phase out the use of coal-fired electricity by 2030. The provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia have since announced their own strategy for electricity generation from renewable sources and set ambitious renewable energy targets to be implemented by 2030.The sector is expected to invest C$350billion in electricity infrastructure between 2011 and 2030, creating demand for the deployment of many new energy technologies.

The province of Alberta will add 5,000 megawatts of renewable energy (wind, hydro and solar) capacity worth C$10.5 billion in new investment into the provincial economy by 2030 through the Renewable Electricity Program run by the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO).

Saskatchewan has set a target of 50 per cent of generation capacity from renewables by 2030. The province intends to double the percentage of renewables in their supply mix in just 15 years. They have developed a phased approach to adding utility scale solar projects to the provincial grid and intends to have 30 per cent wind power capacity by 2030.

The British Columbian Government is committed to the provision of 50 per cent renewable fuel requirements and create 10 community energy projects derived from biomass by 2020.

Competitive environment

Canada offers foreign investors a strong renewable energy industry with opportunities across the entire value chain, from technology development and supply to energy generation, distribution and storage. The abolition of coal plants in Ontario in 2013, has led to the development of a number of technologies in the renewable energy sector competing in the market.

Tariffs and regulations

Canada classifies imported goods according to the Harmonised Commodity Description and Coding System (HS). Importers have to provide a complete description of their goods so that the correct tariff classification can be assigned to those goods. Tariff classifications can be appealed to the Canadian International Trade Tribunal.

Most goods imported into Canada from Australia are subject to the Most-Favoured Nation (MFN) tariff although there are some preferential tariff rates (AUT) under the Canada-Australia Tariff Agreement (CANATA). To get the benefits of a particular tariff treatment, imported goods must also meet certification and direct shipment conditions. Country of origin markings are a requirement on many consumer and other products. Failure to comply with this regulation will result in goods being refused entry.

Tariffs are levied on the freight on board (FOB) value of the goods in the country of export and may be specific or ad valorem. Tariffs and duty rates are constantly revised and are subject to change without notice. Austrade strongly recommends you reconfirm these prior to selling to Canada.

For further information please visit Canada Border Services Agency.

In order to conduct temporary business in Canada, business meetings and consultations, attending conventions and conferences, or negotiating contracts, individuals need visitor visas eTA (electronic travel authorisation).

Marketing your products and services

Market entry

Whether you are an upstream or downstream provider, breaking into the Canadian market for exporting your products and services can be challenging. Research into the market environment and applicable regulation is important before exchanging goods and services. Additionally, knowing if your company is export ready beforehand can determine how successful or unsuccessful your offerings will be in the new market. 

See Austrade’s International Readiness Indicator for new exporters.

As a new exporter, joining national and regional trade associations can be a useful first step to find information on the industries, obtaining member lists for contacts and attending trade events for finding customers.

There are conferences in Canada focusing on the renewable energy sector that can be valuable to foreign companies looking to learn about the market, gauge the competitiveness of their offerings, find like-minded companies and individuals to collaborate with, and scope opportunities for customers and partners for commercialisation.

Distribution channels

Other than direct transactions, utilising agents, wholesalers and retailers are ways an Australian company can enter the Canadian market.

Links and resources

Alberta Electric System Operator
BC Bioenergy Strategy
Canadian Council on Renewable Electricity
Energy Council of Canada


Alberta&Saskatchewan Renewable Energy Summit 2017
Association of Power Producers of Ontario

Contact details

The Australian Trade and Investment Commission – Austrade – contributes to Australia's economic prosperity by helping Australian businesses, education institutions, tourism operators, governments and citizens as they:

  • develop international markets
  • win productive foreign direct investment
  • promote international education
  • strengthen Australia's tourism industry
  • seek consular and passport services.

Working in partnership with Australian state and territory governments, Austrade provides information and advice that can help Australian companies reduce the time, cost and risk of exporting. We also administer the Export Market Development Grant Scheme and offer a range of services to Australian exporters in growth and emerging markets.