A new EV on the lot, an 'unprecedented' energy intervention, and an emissions drop that is not all it seems


Canada’s new economic engine

Last week, Clean Energy Canada released a new report with the Trillium Network for Advanced Manufacturing on the potential size of the battery supply chain in Canada. Our modelling found that, if Canada plays its cards right, a domestic EV battery supply chain could support up to 250,000 jobs by 2030 and add $48 billion to the Canadian economy annually. And with the U.S.’s new electric vehicle tax credit requiring that EVs and their batteries be made in North America, Canada’s EV battery opportunity is very much in the spotlight.

In addition to proximity to the U.S., Canada has a host of natural advantages, including the right metal and mineral resources, an existing auto manufacturing industry, and world-leading battery recycling companies. As Clean Energy Canada’s Merran Smith told CBC, it also has a clean electricity grid, enabling lower carbon mining and manufacturing. Indeed, Canada has already seen a number of big battery investments, including a $5 billion investment from Stellantis and LG Energy Solution to build a battery factory in Windsor that will employ 3,200 workers.

But as Clean Energy Canada’s Joanna Kyriazis wrote in an op-ed for the Toronto Star, “despite some solid investments, the success of Canada’s EV battery supply chain—and the hundreds of thousands of future jobs it could support—is still largely dependent on swift government action.” In a scenario where no additional government action is taken, Canada’s battery supply chain would create just 60,000 jobs and contribute only $12 billion in GDP—fulfilling only about a quarter of both its jobs and GDP potential. Accordingly, the report identifies six ways in which Canada should focus its efforts to meet the battery-building opportunity. Read the report and sign up for our upcoming webinar to find out more.

The true cost of clean energy

A new study from Oxford University lays out the costs of transitioning to clean energy, finding that “compared to continuing with a fossil fuel-based system, a rapid green energy transition will likely result in overall net savings of many trillions of dollars—even without accounting for climate damages or co-benefits of climate policy.” Put simply, the energy transition isn’t something we should do despite the price tag, but because of it (and a few other good reasons). 

Calculating the costs

On a highly related note, the Canadian Climate Institute released a white paper last week on affordability and equity in Canada's energy transition. The analysis found that “while electricity use will increase, households’ total electricity expenditures may not," although specific action should be taken to ensure that lower-income households are not negatively impacted. As Clean Energy Review co-author Trevor Melanson wrote in a recent op-ed, recognizing the link between affordability and climate action is key if support for climate solutions are to endure in the face of opposition leader who has promised to "axe the tax.”

‘An unprecedented intervention’

The price of a reliance on fossil fuels continues to weigh heavily on European household energy bills. So much so that the EU has proposed “an unprecedented intervention,” with plans to raise $140 billion from energy companies’ windfall revenues. Member countries will be able to use the funds to ease the burden on bill payers in the form of income support or rebates. 

A new EV on the lot

Canadians in the market for a new car may be interested to learn that the Chevy Equinox is getting an electric makeover. The new EV model will be available in spring 2024 starting at $37,250 for the 400-kilometre base model. That price doesn’t include the federal government's $5,000 rebate or any additional provincial incentives. Considering your monthly “fuel” bill for this thing could probably be covered with a couple twenties, the cost-conscious new car buyer would be wise to reconsider their relationship with gas.

Ontario’s EV accelerator (and its brake)

After a host of EV-related investments in Ontario, the provincial government has announced it is setting up an economic advisory group with representatives from automaker Stellantis NV and three Indigenous groups. The goal is to “ensure that Indigenous people secure jobs and economic prosperity from any development near their communities.” While Premier Doug Ford clearly recognizes the importance of EV manufacturing in the province, his government has dropped the ball on actual EV policies (as it has on many climate policies). In fact, the government was forced to admit in court last week that its climate plan is more of a “glossy brochure” than an enforceable plan of action.

B.C.’s emissions drop not all it seems

B.C. released its 2020 emissions data last week revealing a nearly 5% reduction from 2019. While a decrease is undoubtedly preferable to an increase, it’s still a smaller drop than the Canadian average of 9% for the year that COVID first struck. Clean Energy Canada’s Merran Smith told Glacier Media that it was disappointing to not see a greater emissions drop, but B.C.'s poorer emissions performance could be the result of an economy not hit as hard by COVID lockdowns.

Mining goes electric

A mine in B.C. is getting an electric upgrade after Australia-based Newcrest Mining announced it would replace its entire fleet of underground diesel haul trucks with battery-electric versions. The Brucejack gold-silver mine in the northwest of the province will receive eight new electric trucks that will reportedly prevent around 65,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions by 2030. The new zero-emission trucks will also “improve truck productivity, lower unit costs and enhance operational efficiency from planning to production.”

The Clean Energy Review is co-authored by Trevor Melanson and Keri McNamara
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