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Analyst Foresees ‘Total Destruction’ for Canadian Cleantech Investment

The market for Canadian cleantech investment is facing “total destruction” over the shorter term, despite the Trudeau government’s best efforts to draw more dollars to green infrastructure and technology, the Financial Post reports.

Canadian private sector investment in clean technologies have fallen by half since 2014, dropping to a combined US$9.4 billion over the past three years, compared with US$19.5 billion between 2012-2014,” the Post reports, citing Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). “Investment rose to US$3.3 billion last year, compared to US$2.3 billion, but is less than half of the peak in 2014. Investments in the first two quarters of 2018 appear to be below the fourth-quarter running average.”

“Any time you have a ratcheting down of subsidies, in the immediate aftermath you see a total destruction of the market,” said Amy Grace, BNEF’s head of North American research.

“Investment in general in Canada has been low, and remains low,” added Ecofiscal Commission Chair Chris Ragan, partly due to trade woes between Canada and the United States and the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The moderate investment levels appear to contradict Ottawa’s mantra that a suite of new incentive programs, coupled with falling costs for renewables such as wind and solar, would inevitably push clean technology investment to new heights,” the Post states. “Analysts say the trend is instead a result of uncommonly high investment levels from 2010-2015, spurred in part by provincial and federal programs that have since been wound down.

Clean Energy Canada Executive Director Merran Smith said it’s natural for clean technology investment to flatten out when equipment life cycles run into the decades. “These are long-term infrastructure projects,” she said. “It’s not like buying a new iPhone which you might do every couple of years.”

She added that Alberta is “the shining light” on the Canadian renewable electricity investment scene, with 600 megawatts procured in 2017, another 700 MW expected in 2018, and a recent bid for wind energy delivering a record low price of C$37 per megawatt-hour.

Economist Dave Sawyer of EnviroEconomics said he saw renewables investment on track to hit $7 billion in 2030, a 45% increase from today’s figures.

2 Comments (Open | Close)

2 Comments To "Analyst Foresees ‘Total Destruction’ for Canadian Cleantech Investment"

#1 Comment By Frank White On July 16, 2018 @ 4:13 PM

Not sure how relevant this is but I’ll ask anyway — What requirements must a technology meet to be designated as truly “clean”?
Truly “clean energy” has three requirements (according to one source (of unknown qualifications) —
1) The energy source generator does not create harmful byproducts when it is manufactured or decommissioned (dirty: nuke plants and uranium mining) (clean: solar cell?)
2) The generator doesn’t produce harmful byproducts creating the energy (dirty: nuke or coal power) (clean: solar cell)
3) The energy doesn’t produce harmful byproducts when it is consumed (dirty: gasoline) (clean: electricity or hydrogen)
Not too sure how clean solar cell production is. It’s possible that no truly clean energy source is possible but some are orders of magnitude cleaner than others.

#2 Comment By Mitchell Beer On July 17, 2018 @ 11:46 PM

Really good point, Frank, thanks. Many of our readers make a very deliberate, consistent distinction between “clean” and “renewable”, after seeing the nuclear industry work long and hard to co-opt the “clean” label. As you probably know, there’s also a raging debate about “clean” vs. destructive large hydro development.