Minister of Natural Resources Launches Hydrogen Strategy for Canada

Minister of Natural Resources Seamus O’Regan yesterday launched the Hydrogen Strategy for Canada (the Strategy). The Strategy forms part of the federal government’s plan for net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The Strategy seeks to position Canada as a hydrogen leader and follows Ontario’s announcement on developing a provincial low-carbon hydrogen strategy (see our earlier bulletin). This bulletin highlights and summarizes several key takeaways from the Strategy.

2050 vision. The Strategy provides a vision for hydrogen in Canada in 2050 and notes that, if Canada seizes the opportunities for hydrogen, by 2050 the country could realize:

  • Up to 30% of Canada’s energy delivered in the form of hydrogen;

  • Status as one of the top 3 global clean hydrogen producers, with domestic supply greater than 20 Mt per year;

  • Established supply base of low carbon intensity hydrogen with delivered prices of $1.50 to $3.50 per kilogram;

  • More than five million fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) on the road;

  • Nationwide hydrogen fuelling network;

  • More than 50% of energy supplied by natural gas in 2020 is supplied by hydrogen through blending in existing pipelines and new dedicated hydrogen pipelines;

  • New industries enabled by low-cost hydrogen supply network;

  • Approximately 350,000 hydrogen sector jobs;

  • Over $50 billion in direct hydrogen sector revenue for the domestic market;

  • Established and competitive hydrogen export market; and

  • Up to 190 Mt CO2e annual GHG reduction (45 Mt CO2e annually by 2030).

Canada’s hydrogen opportunity. The Strategy indicates that opportunities exist throughout all regions of Canada for both domestic uses and as part of the hydrogen export market. Target markets for hydrogen export include California and the eastern United States, Japan, South Korea, China, and the European Union.

The Strategy provides the following rollout timing:

Implementation in the near-term (2020-2025). Hydrogen use in the near-term will be concentrated in mature market applications including FCEV and fuel cell electric bus transportation. Pre-commercial applications will be introduced as pilot projects in regional hubs, influenced by the following:

  • zero-emission vehicle mandates for passenger vehicles (Quebec and BC);

  • carbon pricing and regulations like the federal Clean Fuel Standard leading to low carbon hydrogen production for industrial applications;

  • existing hydrogen generation, distribution and dispensing infrastructure that can be leveraged;

  • pilot results, codes, standards and regulatory approvals for blending hydrogen and natural gas to decarbonize the utility distribution system; and

  • renewable gas targets for natural gas utilities.

Implementation in the medium-term (2025-2030). The Strategy indicates that industrial clusters will be the staring points for expanding hydrogen use into other sectors and regions with hydrogen use focused on applications that provide the best value relative to other zero-emission technologies. As production facilities and infrastructure for industrial applications are built, they will transition to also supply hydrogen for residential heating, hydrogen refuelling stations or dispatchable power generation.

Implementation in the long-term (2030-2050). Advances in battery and charging technology are expected to bring about higher power demand applications predisposed toward hydrogen energy storage and lower power demand applications.

Recommendations. The Strategy makes recommendations across eight pillars as follows:

  1. Strategic partnerships. Strategically use existing and new partnerships to collaborate and map out the future of hydrogen in Canada.

  2. De-risking investments. Establish funding programs, long-term policies, and business models to encourage industry and governments to invest in growing the hydrogen economy.

  3. Innovation. Take action to support further R&D, develop research priorities, and foster collaboration between stakeholders to ensure Canada maintains its competitive edge and global leadership in hydrogen and fuel cell technologies.

  4. Codes and standards. Modernize existing and develop new codes and standards to keep pace with the rapidly changing hydrogen industry and remove barriers to deployment, domestically and internationally.

  5. Enabling policies and regulation. Ensure hydrogen is integrated into clean energy roadmaps and strategies at all levels of government and incentivize its application.

  6. Awareness. Lead at the national level to ensure individuals, communities and the private sector are aware of hydrogen’s safety, uses, and benefits during a time of rapidly developing technologies.

  7. Regional blueprints. Implement a collaborative effort across all orders of government to facilitate the development of regional hydrogen blueprints to identify specific opportunities and plans for hydrogen production and end use.

  8. International markets. Work with Canada’s international partners to ensure that the global push for clean fuels includes hydrogen so that Canadian industries thrive at home and abroad.

For further information or to discuss the contents of this bulletin, please contact Lisa DeMarco at

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