Why carbon capture is capturing more than emissions, how Canada is set to be home to one of the world's largest batteries, and big automakers go for an electric rebrand


Poll: BC’ers prefer clean energy over LNG  

Most British Columbians would like to see the provincial government invest in clean energy rather than LNG as it begins its new term, while a strong majority think the province should prioritize combating climate change, according to a new survey from Stratcom and Clean Energy Canada.

Most British Columbians (61%) would like to see the government focus on developing renewables such as hydroelectricity, hydrogen, and clean technology, while fewer than a quarter (22%) say they would prefer investment in LNG. Meanwhile, almost three-quarters (73%) are on board with policies that make pollution-intensive activities more expensive, provided these policies also make climate-friendly alternatives cheaper and more available.

Perhaps this support for clean energy is one of the reasons the province is home to a thriving clean energy sector. Only last week, Burnaby-based Ballard Power, which makes hydrogen fuel cells, announced that its tech is powering a train that will appear at the UN’s climate conference COP26 in Scotland. Combined with a rally in the hydrogen sector, Ballard’s stock value is now the highest it’s been in nearly two decades.

Capturing more than carbon

Carbon capture and storage has also been capturing headlines recently. B.C.-based Carbon Engineering’s direct air capture technology is reportedly being used by United Airlines to create carbon-neutral jet fuel. While the carbon-sucking benefits of this kind of technology are clear, as this Bloomberg piece explains, carbon removal also “shouldn’t be a get-out-of-jail-free card for polluters” and should be used in cases where decarbonization is particularly difficult (such as aviation or some heavy industries)—but not as an alternative to viable clean energy options.

The world’s biggest battery

The Canada Infrastructure Bank is plugging into a massive new battery storage project, partnering with NRStor and Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corporation to build a 250-megawatt facility in Ontario. Once finished, the proposed Oneida Energy Storage project will not only be the largest project of its kind in Canada but will also be among the largest battery storage projects in the world.

Winds of change

The winds of change are blowing across Canada’s oil patch. In fact, they’ve blown energy giant Equinor all the way to Newfoundland. The company recently announced it’s exiting Alberta’s oil and gas sector in favour of offshore wind in Atlantic Canada. The decision to move away from fossil fuels appears to be paying dividends for the Norwegian firm: The State of New York just awarded it one of the U.S.’s largest ever renewable energy contracts. And it’s not just Equinor getting swept up in the offshore opportunity. Siemens is investing in a project that’s aiming to generate hydrogen from offshore wind.

Two days to go

With Biden’s inauguration just around the corner, there have been more announcements about the president-elect’s picks for his climate change team. It’s clear that Biden is planning a very different approach to climate than his predecessor, with an incoming economic White House advisor saying the new administration intends to “put climate change at the heart of the U.S.’s recovery.” And it’s not starting at zero. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, renewables are set to account for most new U.S. electricity generating capacity in 2021.

‘A total transformation’

International Energy Agency head Fatih Birol has articulated his thoughts on the world’s 2050 emissions targets, writing in a recent op-ed that he is “more optimistic than ever about the world’s ability to reach the goals of the Paris agreement,” but that “nothing short of a total transformation of our energy infrastructure is required.”

Indigenous clean energy champions meet

This week is the start of Indigenous Clean Energy’s e-gathering, a week-long virtual event where First Nation, Inuit, and Métis clean energy champions come together with industry, government, and community leaders. To find out more about the gathering as well as the work Indigenous Clean Energy does to promote Indigenous participation in the clean energy sector, head to this new Clean Energy Canada Q&A with Indigenous Clean Energy’s Terri Lynn Morrison. As Terri Lynn Morrison points out, “We often see the challenges faced by Indigenous people in Canada and not so much the successes. Just knowing that Indigenous communities are the second-largest asset owners of clean energy aside from utilities and government is very significant and something that we don’t talk about enough.”

EV shopping

With more EV models coming onto the market, there is more choice than ever. To help narrow down your electric options, Plug ‘n Drive has produced this useful new tool that allows you to tailor the search to suit your individual commuting needs by comparing range, price, cost, and more.

Rebranding is on brand

Some of auto’s biggest names are giving themselves an electric makeover. General Motors unveiled a new logo last week in a plug for its new commitment to electric vehicles (literally, the logo is supposedly plug-shaped). Meanwhile, Kia has changed its logo and dropped the “Motors” from its name in anticipation of its first fully electric vehicle, set to be unveiled this quarter. 

Made-in-Canada electric trucks

The logo isn’t General Motors’ only new change. The automaker is introducing a new electric delivery truck under a new brand named “BrightDrop,” which looks set to be made here in Canada. And the delivery trucks aren’t the only new electric adventure for the company, with GM showcasing a range of new EVs at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show—including a flying taxi.

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IMAGE & MEDIA CREDITS: U.S. Energy Information Administration
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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