Why Canadians see more opportunity than risk in the energy transition, how Canada should embark on a building retrofit 'mission,' and two cities with two very different new EVs


Renewable news

Renewables' ever-plummeting prices are hitting headlines once again after a new report from the International Renewable Energy Agency found that almost two-thirds of global wind and solar projects built last year will be able to generate cheaper electricity than even the world’s cheapest new coal plants.

Conveniently, Canada is home to some of the best wind and solar resources in North America. So much so that tech giant Amazon is opting to source power from a new solar farm in Alberta as part of its plan to use renewables for all of its power by 2025. When the Albertan facility comes online in 2022, it will not only be the largest in Canada, but one of the largest in the world.

And utility Hydro-Quebec is also getting on board the wind and solar train, recently inaugurating its first solar power plants. The two new small-scale facilities are intended to determine whether the technology is well-suited to the province's climate and transmission system. According to Nergica researchers, Quebec has similar sunshine conditions to Japan and Germany, which are world leaders in solar energy.

More opportunity than risk

Our latest round of survey work with Abacus Data has found that three out of four Canadians believe countries that set higher emissions reduction ambitions will be more successful competitors in the global economy compared to those who set lower ambitions. The overwhelming majority of Canadians would also support or go along with requirements for car makers to sell more EVs, government infrastructure to be built using low-carbon materials, and electricity to be zero-emissions by 2030.

Opportunity and action

And speaking of the opportunity, our report released last week found that job gains in clean energy will outpace losses in fossil fuels out to 2030. Even the New Yorker cited the jobs numbers as evidence of the benefit of the clean energy shift. But as I told the Financial Post, “We have to actually have some industrial strategies, some economic transition planning to…make sure this transition goes smoothly.”

A retrofit mission

A new report from Efficiency Canada outlines a “climate retrofit mission” for Canada, arguing that, “Retrofitting our buildings at the scale and performance required to confront climate change calls for market re-shaping innovations.” As this op-ed in the Globe and Mail elaborates, “policy makers...should be enticed by (the report’s) suggestion of potential economic opportunity through developing energy-efficiency solutions that could be shared with other countries.”

The costs of action—and inaction

A new report from the Parliamentary Budget Officer suggests that meeting Canada’s 2030 climate target will not be without economic costs. Key to the report’s findings, however, is that the costs of inaction are not considered. As the report itself points out, “GDP loss is not intended to be viewed in isolation. Climate change itself will have potential costs, and unforeseen breakthrough technologies could reduce that loss." And there is plenty of evidence to suggest that taking little or less action on climate change is not a good economic decision either.

Parkland charging ahead

Parkland, one of Canada’s largest gas-station operators which sells fuel under the Esso, Chevron and Fas Gas Plus brands, is launching a network of 25 EV charging stations between Vancouver Island and Calgary. The announcement is the first step en route to an eventual national rollout. The company chose B.C. to test its electric ambitions “because the province has Canada’s highest adoption of EVs” boasting a fleet of 3.1 million electric vehicles.

‘Sales supremacy’

Electric vehicles are set to reach “sales supremacy” by 2033—five years earlier than expected—with European market reaching a sales “tipping point” in 2028, followed by China in 2033, and the U.S. in 2036. According to the artificial-intelligence-powered study by consulting firm EY, non-EV sales could shrink to less than 1% of the global car market by 2045. And as EVs accelerate, so will jobs in EV technology, with our latest report finding that jobs in the Canadian EV industry are set to grow 26-fold over the next decade.

Indigenous perspectives on climate change

“Indigenous communities in Canada face disproportionate levels of risk from climate change—but not only from climate change,” reads the opening sentence of a new blog on the recovery efforts of the Siksika Nation following a devastating flood. As the piece points out, there is very little that is “natural” about flooding disasters in First Nation communities, with the disaster and recovery impacted by colonial land dispossession and climate change. For more Indigenous perspectives on climate change, don’t miss this new series hosted by the Canadian Institute for Climate Choices.

The carbontech revolution?

Those looking for some distraction from their Monday morning could consider diving into this New York Times piece on the potential uses of captured carbon in products from carpets to concrete. It’s a longer read, but is packed full of innovative companies and ideas, with Canada’s CarbonCure and its carbon-sequestering concrete technology featuring heavily.

Two cities, two very different EVs

Two Canadian cities are set to receive two new (more unusual) electric vehicles. The City of Brampton has approved the purchase of an electric front-line fire truck which will “reduce carcinogens” at the scene of emergencies. Meanwhile, Halifax Regional Municipality is adding a new electric ferry to its public transport fleet, along with new net-zero, energy efficient passenger terminals.

The Clean Energy Review is going on vacation

The Clean Energy Review is taking a hiatus over the summer months, but will be back in full swing after Labour Day. Your inboxes won’t be completely absent clean energy news, however, as we will be sending a mid-summer round up of some of Canada’s key clean energy happenings.

Our new private Facebook group is now live! Join and share the group to connect with and support fellow Canadians powering our sustainable future.
IMAGE & MEDIA CREDITS: Green Energy FuturesRosenbauer RT
Clean Energy Review is a weekly digest of climate and clean energy news and insight from across Canada and around the world.

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