A Portrait of Electricity

  • Electricity is the main energy source for Canadians
  • Heating makes up 60% of the energy consumed in a residence

Electricity is certainly one of the major concerns of Canadians since the late nineteenth century. It was a kind of catalyst for economic development and allowed the phasing out of fossil fuels to heat homes by becoming THE source for Canadian energy. To better understand the fervor for electric heating, it is legitimate to ask what electricity is.

Electricity has always existed in nature: we need only to think of lightning, which in itself is quite a striking manifestation. Even though it was not invented, this natural phenomenon, however, was recreated by numerous curious researchers who shared the results of their experiments and discoveries beginning in the seventeenth century. Think of the Italian Volta, the French Ampere, or the American Franklin, to name only a few, who have managed, thanks to their extraordinary stubbornness and their skills, to circulate electric current in simple cables which now feeds many homes worldwide.

Today, 71% of Canadians use electricity to heat their homes, while 13% use biomass. The percentages drop to 9% for natural gas and 7% for oil. The impressive electrical branching and ease of use of electricity networks have certainly helped to make it popular. In Canada, we discover that 8% of electricity comes from burning natural gas, 17% from the use of fuel burning and coal, while 60% comes from the overall production of hydroelectric power plants scattered over the vast territory.

Residential heating has a very significant impact on the budget of Canadian families: 60% of the annual energy costs are attributable to heating expenditures. Considering the total national electricity production, Canadians have every incentive to use electricity for their energy needs. One thing is undeniable; regardless of the energy source used to heat buildings, the more we improve the insulation, the more we save on energy costs.

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