Ottawa (ON) – Today, the Canadian Electricity Association (CEA) and its member utilities released the inaugural Sustainable Electricity Annual Report outlining the overall sustainable development performance of the electricity industry in 2008. The Sustainable Electricity program, launched in February 2009, commits CEA members to pursuing business activities in a sustainable manner so that the industry can meet the needs of present and future generations. In order to ensure full transparency with industry stakeholders, the Sustainable Electricity program is guided by a Public Advisory Panel, chaired by the Honourable Mike Harcourt, 30th premier of British Columbia. The panel is comprised of distinguished Canadians with diverse experiences in government, academia, environmental non-governmental organizations, industry, and the Aboriginal community.
“The release of the inaugural Sustainable Electricity annual report marks an important milestone in our efforts to be transparent and to communicate our sustainable development performance to stakeholders”, said Pierre Guimond, President and CEO of the Canadian Electricity Association. “We want the electricity industry in Canada to be recognized as a true sustainability leader around the world,” he added.
While challenges remain, the overall sustainable development performance of CEA member utilities continues to improve. In 2008, absolute air emissions of sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and carbon dioxide (CO2) declined by thirteen percent, seven percent, and eight percent respectively; although emission intensity levels remained fairly constant. The decline in emissions can be attributed to a combination of factors including a higher level of production from non-emitting generation sources (such as hydro and nuclear) and decrease in fossil generation in some provinces. Similarly, health and safety performance of CEA member utilities improved overall, except in regards to injury severity. The Average All Injury Rate across CEA member utilities was 2.88 injuries per 200,000 hours worked (a 4.3 percent improvement over 2007), and the Accident Severity Rate was 21.10 days lost per 200,000 hours worked (a 30 percent increase over 2007). In terms of economic performance, CEA members continued to invest in new essential infrastructure to enhance system reliability to meet the needs of current and future Canadians.
“Our objective is to encourage companies to continuously improve their performance and to work towards excellence”, said Pat Youzwa, President and CEO of SaskPower and Chair of the Sustainable Electricity Executive Council. “This is only the beginning. We are determined to build a sustainable electricity future for future generations,” she added.
“The Public Advisory Panel is pleased to see proactive initiatives being taken to protect biodiversity and ecosystems, reduce air emissions, effectively engage Aboriginal peoples, and to improve health and safety performance”, said Mike Harcourt, Chair of the Panel. “We will work closely with CEA and its members to continuously improve sustainability performance and to ensure that the program principles are fully adhered to”, added Mr. Harcourt.
CEA members generate, transmit, and distribute electrical energy to industrial, commercial, residential, and institutional customers across Canada on a daily basis. A national industry association, CEA includes all facets of the electricity industry from vertically integrated electric utilities and power marketers, to manufacturers and suppliers of materials, technology and services. CEA represents the broad interests of this pivotal industry, whose role in assuring safe, reliable, and competitively-priced energy is essential to the prosperity of present and future generations.
The 2008 Sustainable Electricity Annual Report is available at: www.SustainableElectricity.ca