THIS WEEK

Enjoy this week's Clean Energy Review wrapped up with a summary of some of 2020's biggest clean energy happenings

THE YEAR IN CLEAN ENERGY

2020 wrapped

If news stories had a billboard chart, no one could debate the top spot: COVID-19 has populated almost every front page, newsfeed and meme for the last 10 months. But if there could be a runner up, it's fair to say that climate and clean energy could make a solid case. After all, we’ve seen countries commit billions to clean and green stimulus measures. The EU just approved a $2.2-trillion package that will reportedly put it on a “clear path toward climate neutrality in 2050,” while countries like the U.K., South Korea and Japan have stepped up with funding of their own.

Then there’s the U.S. election (arguably a contender for #2 in its own right), which represents a huge victory for the climate fight. President-elect Joe Biden hasn’t even been sworn in yet, and we’re already contemplating a U.S.-Canada zero-emissions vehicle approach as well as a climate action “bromance”—things that seemed highly improbable this time last year.

Meanwhile, Canadian climate action is ending the year on a high. September's  Speech from the Throne, which set Canada on course for a clean recovery, was followed recently by the federal government’s new bold and historic climate plan to beat our 2030 emissions targets. And 2020’s climate victories aren’t just political ones. Renewables companies are becoming the new energy giants, with clean energy company NextEra recently overtaking Exxon in terms of market value.

Canada’s hydrogen strategy

Last week saw the release of the federal government’s new hydrogen strategy. As I said in a statement, “Canada’s long-awaited federal hydrogen strategy recognizes the importance of emissions intensity in the energy carrier’s production. At the same time, the plan falls short of what some other nations have put forward in terms of investment and ambition.”


A new target for B.C.

The hydrogen strategy was joined the same day by a new climate target from the B.C. government. As Clean Energy Canada executive director Merran Smith put it, “While the B.C. government’s new goal of reducing emissions by 16% below 2007 levels by 2025 is a commendable start, it’s also a reminder of how far the province has to go to reach its 2030 goal of 40%.”


Carbon tax truths

At the heart of the federal government’s new climate plan is the carbon price: a policy that comes highly recommended by economists around the world and puts us on track to beat our 2030 targets. But it’s a policy that attracts more than its fair share of negative attention, much of it misinformed. As SFU professor Mark Jaccard stated in a recent op-ed, “the carbon tax rebates received by most Canadians will exceed the carbon tax they pay. Only high polluters will be net losers.”


Canadians feeling jazzed about EVs

Canadians are feeling excited about EVs according to our latest poll. Two out of three Canadians believe that Joe Biden’s election will help make EVs a growth industry and Canada should do everything it can to attract manufacturing. Meanwhile, more people are inclined to buy an EV for their next car today than in 2019. Young people in particular are embracing the electric transition, with only one in five people under 30 inclined to buy a combustion engine vehicle. 


A tipping point

Canadians’ excitement is not misplaced: the internal combustion engine’s days look to be numbered. According to a price survey conducted by BloombergNEF, EV batteries are speeding towards a “tipping point,” with EV makers soon to be “producing models that are as affordable—and as profitable—as comparable combustion engine models, and without the help of tax subsidies."


Electric trucks coming a decade early

It’s not just passenger EVs on the road to the mainstream. A group of seven truck makers, including Volvo, Scania, Ford and Daimler, last week agreed to stop selling diesel-powered commercial trucks by 2040, a decade earlier than previously planned. 


A fleet of savings

For fleet operators, the decision to go electric can be complicated. But Geotab’s largest EV suitability assessment is here to help. According to the report, battery electric vehicles already offer enough range to satisfy half of North America's passenger car fleet and, in the majority of cases, switching to an EV would save fleet operators money—even before incentives are applied. 


Biden’s picks for top jobs

Biden has made two new key climate appointments for his incoming administration. Michael S. Regan, the current head of North Carolina’s environmental agency, has been appointed as head of the Environmental Protection Agency. Meanwhile, Gina McCarthy, Barack Obama’s former EPA chief, has been selected to run a special White House office on climate change (dubbed “the White House climate czar").


Hydrogen takes flight

It’s been a good week for hydrogen-powered aviation startup ZeroAvia. Not only did it manage to raise US$37.7 million from the U.K. government along with funding from Bill Gates and Amazon, but it also announced a partnership with British Airways to work on the potential of zero-emissions hydrogen to power the airline's future fleet. 

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: 
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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