Capital and fed policy needed for clean energy growth
By Scott Jamieson
February 17, 2012, Toronto - Canada’s clean technology sector is a major driver of job growth and innovation, and could be worth $60 billion by 2020 barring current federal policy and financing barriers, says a new report by the Pembina Institute.
Competing in Clean Energy: Capitalizing on Canadian innovation in a $3 trillion economy
details the opportunities and challenges facing Canada in the global
transition to clean energy — a market set to grow to $3 trillion by
“While meteorologists in Australia add new colours to their
temperature forecast maps following record heat waves and wild fires,
clean energy entrepreneurs in Europe, Asia and the U.S. are busy
capitalizing on investments in decarbonizing energy systems,” says Ed
Whittingham, executive director of the Pembina Institute and co-author
of the report.
“With the Harper government’s focus set on accelerating
development of Canada’s fossil fuel commodities — from oilsands to shale
gas and coal — Canada is currently capturing just one percent of the
thriving clean energy market.”
With more than 700 companies, Canada’s cleantech sector grew
job numbers by 11 per cent and invested almost $2 billion in research
and development between 2008 and 2010.
Yet venture capital investment, especially from large
institutional investors, is declining: from about $3.3 billion in 2000
to less than $1 billion in 2012. And Canadian companies have landed only
two per cent of clean energy patents granted in the U.S. since 2002,
compared to Korea’s five per cent, Germany’s seven per cent, and Japan’s
26 per cent.
The advice of nearly two dozen Canadian clean energy thought
leaders on overcoming current obstacles is remarkably consistent, and
- Bridging capital gaps with federal financial tools;
- Ongoing support for Sustainable Development Technology Canada;
- Accelerating efforts to phase out remaining federal fossil fuel subsidies;
- And a federal approach to pricing greenhouse gas pollution, as among the most important.
“Canada can compete in the global clean energy economy, but
the clock is ticking,” says Whittingham. “The Prime Minister was right
when he said that Canada needs to be a clean energy superpower to
compete in the energy of tomorrow, but he needs to get serious about it
now. While we might do well as a natural resources powerhouse today,
those returns could be short lived.”