Clean energy employs nearly 300,000 Canadians from coast to coast, and the sector’s job count was growing 60% faster than the Canadian average in 2017, according to a 10-province survey conducted by Navius Research and released today by Clean Energy Canada.
The question, the Vancouver-based organization says in a release, is whether decision-makers are paying attention. “While political fights over oil pipelines dominate headlines, the clean energy sector is seldom discussed,” CEC says in a release. “In short, we’re missing a big piece of Canada’s energy picture.”
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The study says hydropower and wind farms accounted for nearly 40% of the sector’s GDP in 2017, public transit and electric vehicle manufacturing for 30%, and clean electricity infrastructure and storage for 25%.
“Not only is Canada’s clean energy sector growing faster than the rest of the country’s economy,” writes Clean Energy Canada Executive Director Merran Smith. “It’s also attracting tens of billions of dollars in investment every year. And perhaps most importantly for the average Canadian, it’s a huge, and growing, employer.”
The report shows Ontario leading the country in clean energy activity in 2017, with 138,460 jobs, C$13.6 billion in annual investment, and $21.7 billion in economic activity, or 3% of provincial GDP. Job counts stood at 66,636 in Quebec, 32,007 in British Columbia, 26,358 in Alberta, 16,584 in Manitoba, 12,123 in Atlantic Canada, and 5,605 in Saskatchewan.
Between 2010 and 2017, the economic value of the clean energy sector grew 4.8% per year, compared to 3.6% for the economy as a whole, the report finds.
Earlier this month, a separate study showed energy efficiency employing 436,000 Canadians, more than twice as many as oil and gas. Data released by Calgary-based ECO Canada also had the sector on track to create 36,000 new positions this year, while labour market analysts warned the fossil sector could lose 12,500 positions.
“The clean energy sector is diverse and spread across the country, which perhaps has made it harder to visualize in the minds of Canadians,” Smith states. But the jobs are distributed across the country [as we always knew they would be—Ed.], they drive cleantech innovation, and they’re “comparatively stable and less dependent on global economic booms and busts.”
The 15-page release includes “sector spotlights” on electric vehicles, batteries and energy storage, wind power, and building control and HVAC systems.
“It isn’t one type of company or one type of job,” the report stresses. “It’s large global companies, family-run businesses, small tech start-ups, and everything in between. From the electric vehicle manufacturer in Vancouver to the contractor insulating your home, hundreds of thousands of Canadians are building our clean energy sector.”