By Arman Kazemi
February 05, 2015
Canada ended 2014 with a resounding endorsement of its renewable energy investment market, despite minimal federal involvement in the sector.
According to the Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index released late last year, Canada ranks fifth overall among countries with significant clean energy profiles, coming in especially strong for onshore wind and marine energies at fourth place worldwide in both categories.
A Bloomberg report earlier this month put Canadian clean energy investment for 2014 at $9 billion dollars, up 26 per cent from last year.
Yet as a recent article from ECOreport.com suggests, much of the investment comes through programs set out by individual provinces and, increasingly, through private foreign investors.
ECOreport.com further noted that four of the top five private financers of Canadian clean tech come from outside our borders, with the bulk of interest originating from banks in Germany and Japan, both countries that rank above Canada on the Renewable Energy Attractiveness Index.
“Federal tax brakes and research support, during the 1990’s, enabled the oil sands to become what it is today,” writes the report’s author Roy L. Hales. “Who will own Canada’s renewable sector a decade from now, if similar support isn’t given to the nation’s Clean Tech sector?”
Progressive provincial policies have been spearheaded by the likes of Ontario and Quebec, while B.C. continues to enjoy extensive hydropower operations and the continent’s first revenue-neutral carbon tax.
As with similar green-sector market reports, Ontario has once again been singled out for its domestic leadership in renewable energy policy. The report particularly praises the province’s procurement program for wind and solar, while also crediting Ontario for adding a potential “3.5 gigawatts of new renewables capacity” in the year to come.Thanks in part to Ontario’s feed-in-tariff program, Canadian solar was up 47 per cent compared to 2013, placing the country seventh in a ranking of solar PV.
Ongoing slumps in global oil prices and modest GDP outlooks for 2015 from Canadian institutions such as Scotiabank, offer the federal government an opportunity to strengthen Canada’s clean energy market.With an election looming, the policies of all federal parties will be under the microscope.
Photo Credit: Tim Nutt