The first annual survey of Canada’s clean-energy performance finds that while pipelines grab more headlines, clean energy is grabbing growth.
Policy leadership in British Columbia, Ontario, and Québec—and business leadership across the country—have helped drive $25 billion of renewable-energy investment and a 37 percent employment increase over the past five years.
Tracking the Energy Revolution — Canada details key policies, investments and development in each of Canada’s provinces and regions, and profiles private-sector success stories. Its key findings include:
- Wind, solar, run-of-river, and biomass capacity have nearly doubled in the past five years.
- Large hydro remains the foundation of Canada’s electricity system, providing 85 percent of all renewable electricity capacity, and continues to grow.
- In 2013, Canada hit a record high, putting up one new wind turbine every 10 hours.
- Cumulative investment in Canada’s clean energy sector amounted to $25 billion over the past five years.
- In 2013, Canada jumped from 12th to seventh place in the G20 for clean-energy investment.
- Clean energy jobs are growing incredibly fast. In 2013, thirty-seven percent more Canadians worked in the renewable energy industry than in 2009.
- As a result, by 2013 the clean energy sector—encompassing manufacturing, power production, energy efficiency, and biofuels—accounted for more direct Canadian jobs than the oil sands.
- With growing selection, incentives and public-charging networks, electric vehicle sales doubled between 2012 and 2013.
While Canada has clean energy strengths we can build on from coast to coast to coast, Ontario and Québec stand out as clean energy leaders. Other jurisdictions, such as Alberta, Saskatchewan, and a seemingly indifferent federal government are not yet pursuing their opportunities with the necessary vigour to unlock our clean energy potential.
“The global clean energy revolution isn’t a future scenario. It is underway right now, and it presents huge potential benefits for Canadians,” said Merran Smith, director of Clean Energy Canada.
“Speeding up Canada’s energy transition would clean up our power grids and transportation systems, but would also help Canadian companies prosper in the fast-growing global clean energy marketplace,” she added.
In contrast with our southern neighbour, Canada’s federal government has yet to assume a leadership role in fostering the clean energy sector. To this end, the report lays out key federal policy recommendations that would bolster and complement provincial actions. These include direct federal support for power storage and clean energy infrastructure, and a national price on carbon pollution to level the playing field between clean energy and fossil fuels.