A clean construction advantage Canada can't afford to waste, the latest on the Conservative climate plan, and a hydrogen-powered vehicle you may not have seen coming


The car maker shakeup

As a new op-ed from Wood Mackenzie drives home, “electric vehicles are in the fast lane.” While Tesla may have been the first notable car maker in the lane, manufacturers around the world are making the shift. And it could make for an interesting race, with German manufacturer Volkswagen reportedly primed to overtake Tesla in sales in the next five years.

The speed at which EVs are picking up the pace, especially in Europe, has brought on a flurry of new electric commitments. U.S. car giant Ford now plans to only sell EVs in Europe within the decade. Porsche is aiming for 80% of its sales to be electric by 2030. And U.K.-headquartered Jaguar Land Rover indicated it intends to make its entire Jaguar brand electric in the next five years, while its Land Rover brand will offer an electric version of all its models by the end of the decade (and perhaps a hydrogen fuel cell option too).

Closer to home, America’s best-selling EV after Tesla, the Chevrolet Bolt, has had a makeover. GM has released a new SUV version alongside the newly designed Bolt. Both cars include semi autonomous driving capabilities as well as 400 kilometres of range, and have a starting price that is $5,000 cheaper than the previous model.

Why we need to ‘buy clean’

With the Biden presidency driving demand for all things low-carbon, Canada’s construction sector is in a strong position. As my colleague Merran Smith and Canadian national director of United Steelworkers Ken Neumann point out in a new op-ed (find a paywall-free version here), our clean grid and proximal location could give us a real edge in Biden’s U.S. But, as the accompanying report from Blue Green Canada elaborates, to capitalize abroad, we must ensure we’re buying and supporting our clean construction products at home.

Turbine truths

Wind power took an underserved bashing last week after some politicians and news outlets claimed that frozen turbines were to blame for power blackouts in Texas following extreme and atypical cold weather. But, as numerous reports have made clear, the biggest culprit was freezing natural gas pipelines. Ironically, those gas pipelines may also (albeit indirectly) shoulder some blame for the cause of the cold too, with scientists arguing that climate-change-induced rapid heating in the arctic was, in part, responsible for pushing the frigid air south. 

A Conservative climate plan (WIP)

Last week saw chatter around Conservative party leader Erin O'Toole's forthcoming climate plan, which he says will probably hit targets faster than the plan put in place by the governing Liberals. O'Toole has hinted his plan would focus on industry rather than Canadians, but as economist Andrew Leach outlines in a Twitter thread, that's unlikely to reach the emissions reductions needed without very deep, expensive cuts to industry.

Electric ferries 

While B.C.’s ferry operator is full steam ahead with its plans to electrify (BC Ferries is planning to make a third of its vessels electric over seven years), the rest of Canada is falling behind. And it's missing out, according to a new op-ed. When it comes to tackling the economic impacts of COVID as well as the urgency of climate change, the piece argues there are “few better places to get started than decarbonizing Canada’s domestic ferry fleet.”

The cleantech race

B.C.’s cleantech sector (which happens to include Corvus Energy, a leading maker of electric ferry batteries) is among the strongest in the world. But, as this op-ed points out, it’s going to face a lot more competition now that the U.S.’s cleantech sector, sidelined to an extent by Trump, is back in the race. Indeed, the same applies to much of Canada’s clean energy sector. As my colleague Merran Smith told the Narwhal, “This is our race to lose, we are well positioned, but we need to take action.”

Hydrogen accelerating globally

A new report from the Hydrogen Council has found that hydrogen deployment is accelerating around the world. As of early this year, over 30 countries have released hydrogen roadmaps, and 228 large-scale projects have been announced.

Snowmobile stories

It’s not just electric snowmobiles and jet skis that Montreal-based EV maker Taiga Motors has for sale. Prospective cleantech investors will soon be able to buy into the company too after it announced it’s going public through a special purpose acquisition company merger. And while on the somewhat niche subject of snowmobiles, a new hydrogen-powered snowmobile just hit the slopes in Austria. 

‘We can no longer delay’

Last week, the U.S. officially rejoined the Paris agreement after a four-year break under former president Trump. In the words of President Biden, “We can no longer delay or do the bare minimum to address climate change. This is a global existential crisis, and all of us will suffer if we fail.”

Catch up on our latest webinar

If you missed our webinar last week on Canada’s car conundrum, don’t worry. You can watch a recording of the webinar with Clean Energy Canada's Merran Smith, Sarah Petrevan, and Joanna Kyriazis as well as special guests Colin McKerracher from BloombergNEF, Flavio Volpe from the APMA, and Ken Bondy from Unifor. 

A date for your diary 

If you're interested in the energy transition and everything it encompasses, then join the C.D. Howe Institute on February 26 to hear Clean Energy Canada's Merran Smith and a panel of experts discuss a new future for energy, from innovation in the oil industry to electric vehicle manufacturing, and a roadmap for transition.

Our new private Facebook group is now live! Join and share the group to connect with and support fellow Canadians powering our sustainable future.
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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