Canada’s steel industry says it will grow its clean electricity demand significantly as it strives towards its net zero transition. This demand growth will need to be met by a clean, affordable and reliable electricity supply such as that provided by nuclear generation—as steel producers continue their leadership in producing some of the greenest steel in the world.
In a new report issued today, the Canadian Steel Producers Association (CSPA) and the Nuclear Innovation Institute (NII) calculate that making green steel in Canada will require more than four times (430 percent) the amount of electricity currently used by the sector.
Clean, affordable and reliable nuclear power will be an essential pathway to meeting that demand for the vast amounts of green steel that will be required in making everything from buildings to bridges and appliances, from making planes to trains and automobiles, the report says.
The findings are contained in Greening Steel: how nuclear energy and electrification can power the future of steel, a joint report launched in Hamilton by the CSPA and NII’s Bruce Power Centre for New Nuclear and Net Zero Partnerships.
A $15-billion industry that supports more than 123,000 direct and indirect jobs, Canada’s steel producers are a critical part of domestic and North American supply chains—and so far have announced projects that will realize a significant level of decarbonization by 2030.
“Canada’s steel producers already produce some of the greenest steel globally,” describes Catherine Cobden, President and CEO of the CSPA. “But we know that we must do more. Every decarbonization pathway for steelmaking will require clean, reliable and affordable electricity at a major scale. Nuclear energy could clearly play a critical role in meeting this demand.”
“This summer we surveyed CSPA members, asking about their projected demand for electricity and which attributes of a clean electricity grid are important as they transform their operations to meet decarbonization targets,” says Chad Richards, Director of Policy and Partnerships at NII.
Among the report’s key takeaways:
- Canadian steel is currently among the least carbon-intensive in the world and Canada’s steel sector is taking action to further decarbonize. By 2030, CSPA members are set to have reduced their greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) by at least 45%—which meets and exceeds Canada’s 2030 target of 40% GHG emissions reductions.
- More green steel needs more clean electricity. On average, Canadian steelmakers indicate they expect to see a 430% increase in electricity demand by 2050 as they decarbonize their processes. From electrification to the potential role of hydrogen, to the deployment of CCS, all pathways lead to increased demand.
- Nuclear can provide the clean, reliable and affordable electricity supply to power a transition to widespread green steelmaking.
- The steel industry is looking for the greening of electricity grids across the country to help decarbonize their existing electrical production methods.
“For years we’ve known the valuable contribution that nuclear makes to the grids it powers. Electricity supply from nuclear is safe, clean, reliable and affordable—all of which are vital attributes of the net-zero grids of the future,” says Pat Dalzell, Executive Director, Head of Corporate Affairs at Bruce Power. “We’re pleased to work together with the CSPA and their members to leverage the benefits of nuclear power to support green steelmaking operations across Canada.”
The report concludes with a series of recommendations aimed at ensuring that provincial and federal levels of government implement supportive policy decisions that enable increased levels of green steelmaking and recognize the vital role of nuclear in enabling these efforts.
Read the report and its specific recommendations at: bit.ly/NII-Greening-Steel
Learn more about the work of the Bruce Power Centre for New Nuclear & Net Zero Partnerships at nii.ca/net-zero-partnerships.
About the Nuclear Innovation Institute: The Nuclear Innovation Institute (NII) is an independent, not-for-profit organization that provides a platform to accelerate innovation and the implementation of business relevant solutions for the nuclear industry. NII’s goal is to shape a Canadian nuclear industry that embraces new thinking, new technologies and new lines of business that can drive the global shift to a low-carbon future.