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Insights How do electrical engineers in Canada play a part in addressing climate change?

It is no secret that climate change is having a devastating impact on humanity, ecosystems, and economies all over the world.

In Canada, although there are several ecozones with different weather conditions, we are already seeing the effects of climate change in the form of record-high temperatures, forest fires, flooding and the loss of ice and snow. To prevent further damage, the built environment has a significant part to play in reducing its carbon footprint. 

Within the built environment, changes in energy production in Canada can prevent further rising temperatures on our planet, and electrical engineers are at the forefront of transforming traditional methods using innovative, technological solutions. In this blog, we assess how electrical engineers can help to address climate change.

two male electric engineers on site

Climate change in Canada

Canada is the second-largest country, and it has been reported by the Government that it is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world. The annual average temperature has in fact warmed by around 1.7 C (3 F) since 1948 when nationwide temperatures were first recorded. 

The Government has put policies in place to improve the status quo. However, it will require a unilateral approach to make a difference, with responsibilities falling on governments, businesses and individuals.

In March 2021, AtkinsRéalis released a blueprint for change in Canada. In our Engineering Net Zero report, we set out strategies and solutions to achieve a future without carbon emissions in Canada by 2050. We estimate that Canada needs to triple its power production levels over the next 30 years as demand grows from 500 TWh to 1,500 TWh. 

This can be achieved by investing in engineering solutions in every area of low carbon energy production, including hydro, nuclear, renewables, carbon capture and storage and hydrogen. We also put forward that power grid reliability, resiliency and effectiveness through interprovincial ties are key to effectively supporting the electrification of other economic sectors. 

Following this report we released a comprehensive analysis of Canada’s ability to meet its interim target of cutting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 40-45% by 2030, when compared to 2005 levels.

What is electrical engineering? 

The role of an electrical engineer varies from project to project, but fundamentally they are involved in the transfer of energy and information from one point to another. 

On a project, depending on the level of experience, electrical engineers might be involved in designing and building these technological solutions, or potentially the implementation and testing of them. 

Electrical engineers work alongside other engineering professionals on multidisciplinary projects, such as civil engineers, mechanical engineers or structural engineers. They may be required to communicate with clients and contractors, and propose modifications to ensure that a product or service is in line with expectations. 

Sustainability in electrical engineering: How are electrical engineers addressing climate change? 

An electrical engineer’s role is aligned with the principles of carbon reduction because it involves establishing more efficient and affordable technology, providing a stable green energy network, and helping society to live better, smarter and more sustainably. 

From greener mobility and wearable technology to efficient smart grids, electrical engineers hold the power to change the future and develop better, faster and more reliable systems.

With regard to climate change, electrical engineers aim to provide technical solutions by researching and developing renewable energy sources, energy storage systems and clean technology. 

Electrical engineers, therefore, have a responsibility to introduce new technologies and innovations to the energy industry so that society goes about its lives sustainably. 

Addressing climate change at AtkinsRéalis

Construction is responsible for 38% of CO2 emissions, therefore all disciplines within the industry, including engineers, architects, construction managers and more, have a significant role in making changes toward becoming more sustainable. 

Civil engineering, for example, has a viable route with the circular economy, as it encourages the elimination of waste and the continued safe use of natural resources. 

At AtkinsRéalis, we are on a journey to Net Zero Carbon. This means that we’re planning ahead to create a more sustainable world by equipping our people with the skills to build a greener future. The work we deliver is truly meaningful and will make an impact on the lives of the communities we work within.

Are you searching for entry level electrical engineering jobs?

Become an electrical engineer at AtkinsRéalis in Canada. We have opportunities for budding electrical engineers in a number of markets, including cities & development, clean power, water and industrial & manufacturing. 

We specialize in ten core markets, meaning you’ll get to work on truly exciting and complex electrical engineering projects.

Are you looking for your next job in electrical engineering in Canada? We may have an opportunity for you. Browse our available electrical engineering jobs today.