Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Carbon Pricing

To Be A Clean Energy Leader, Canada Needs To Get In The Game

While private financial institutions & businesses are investing to make Canada a clean energy leader – which citizens want – Ottawa drags it feet.

Canada’s fastest growing energy sector isn’t based in Alberta. It is not in fossil fuels, and it received little support from the Federal Government. According Clean Energy Canada’s report Tracking the Energy Revolution, more Canadians are directly employed in clean-energy sectors such as efficiency, clean transportation, and biofuels than are directly employed in the oil sands. To be a clean energy leader, Canada needs to get in the game.

Screenshot 2014-12-08 12.43.37

In 2012, there were 23,700 direct employees in the clean energy sector, as opposed to 22,340 direct workers in the oil sands. (The numbers exclude indirect jobs and so-called “induced” jobs, which if added in would push the oil sands number higher.)

“This is big business and if it were given more attention by the Federal Government, who is largely ignoring it at this time, this could be even bigger business,” said Merran Smith, Clean Energy Canada’s director. “Over the past five years, $25 billion has been invested into clean energy. That’s the same (amount) that was invested in fishing, forestry and agriculture combined, over the same time period.”

Screenshot 2014-12-08 12.45.25

Much of the funding for Canada’s development comes from foreign financial institutions. Four of the five firms are based in Germany or Japan. Manulife Financial Corp is the only Canadian institution on the list.

Screenshot 2014-12-08 12.46.59

“This is a wake-up call to Bay Street,” said Smith, referring to Toronto’s financial district. “Foreigners are seeing the potential in our clean energy. Canada has a significant clean energy resource and we should be investing in it.”

Screenshot 2014-12-08 12.53.07

Fossil fuel companies recognize the potential. Companies like Enbridge, TransCanada and Transalta have installed thousands of MW of renewable capacity.

“They recognize where the puck is going,” Smith said. “Global investments in clean energy last year were pretty close to those in fossil fuels.”

Screenshot 2014-12-08 12.55.06

She added, “Our biggest markets, the US and China, are the biggest investors in clean energy. We should take note of that. We are selling them our fossil fuels, while they are investing in clean energy. They are buying our fossil fuels right now, but they are setting themselves up to be powered by clean energy in the future. Their governments are putting in place the policies and support for their industries.”

Screenshot 2014-12-08 13.12.49

The world’s energy community is putting an increased focus on renewable energy, energy storage, smart grids, infrastructure for electric vehicles, and cutting-edge clean energy projects.

Screenshot 2014-12-08 13.07.27

One of Europe’s largest utilities, E.ON, recently announced it was divesting itself of fossil fuels to concentrate on renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Most Canadians appear to see what happening. According to a national poll taken last summer, 87% of the population said a long-planned national energy strategy should prioritize clean energy. (Only 32% said exporting more gas or oil should be a top priority for such a plan.)

“Canadians want to be powered by renewables, even in Alberta the majority of the population wants the province to transition off of coal immediately or in the next five years. People want us to be a clean energy economy,” said Smith.

Screenshot 2014-12-08 12.56.12

Yet so far, Ottawa has largely sat on the sidelines. It has not provided tax incentives and research support similar to those that enabled the oil sands to become what it is today. Some 72 nations – together representing 42% of the planets GDP – have now adopted carbon pricing. Though Canada has some carbon pricing in B.C., Quebec, and to a much lesser extent Alberta, it has no national carbon price.

Screenshot 2014-12-08 13.05.08

Smith said, “We have been meeting with people to talk about leveling the playing field and help build out clean energy infrastructure, as well as putting a national price on carbon. As you can imagine, there’s not much appetite on putting a price on carbon.”

“Companies that are investing now are the companies that are going to create the innovations and the expertise and they are going to be the companies that are exporting in the future. Nations that are exporting clean energy products and services now are going to be the exporters in the future.”

“Canada needs to get in the game if we want to be a clean energy leader.”

Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality and cleantech news coverage? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.

Don't want to miss a cleantech story? Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.
Written By

is the President of Cortes Community Radio , CKTZ 89.5 FM, where he has hosted a half hour program since 2014, and editor of the Cortes Currents (formerly the ECOreport), a website dedicated to exploring how our lifestyle choices and technologies affect the West Coast of British Columbia. He writes for both writes for both Clean Technica and PlanetSave on Important Media. He is a research junkie who has written over 2,000 articles since he was first published in 1982. Roy lives on Cortes Island, BC, Canada.


You May Also Like

Clean Transport

The new 793 electric truck from Caterpillar is just the tip of the iceberg as the global mining industry pivots into electrification and interoperability.

Green Economy

The Canadian government says levying a price on air pollution continues to be the most practical way to battle climate change and simultaneously make...

Climate Change

While I watched the chilled host on the Macy’s Day Parade television broadcast talk about Tofurky as a vegan Thanksgiving substitute, I can’t say...


Following closely on the heels of rumors about sodium-ion batteries, BYD announced a new 20 GWh battery factory in China.

Copyright © 2022 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.