Why Amazon could be buying a lion's share of a certain Canadian EV maker, the latest gossip about Apple's new EV, and what 2021 could have in store for clean energy


The senate results and climate

Despite a tumultuous start to 2020 for U.S. politics, we now know that the Democrats will have control of the senate. But what does the result mean for Biden’s $2-trillion climate plan?

In short, as this analysis points out, senate control provides the Democrats the opportunity to advance certain aspects of their plan. For starters, it virtually guarantees Biden's nominees for departments dealing with climate policy. It also means the Democrats could push moderate proposals with bipartisan support, like reducing carbon emissions from transportation. But with 60 senate votes required to pass most bills (the Democrats now have 50), some bigger issues, like carbon pricing, will likely prove more challenging. Instead, the new government may consider other options like a carbon price benchmark.

Regardless of the details, this outcome of months of election uncertainty is ultimately good for the global climate fight. As the Globe and Mail editorial board put it, “The coronavirus pandemic dominated 2020, but in the long run it is climate heating that looms as the larger tsunami. It is a win to have someone in the White House who respects the scale of the challenge.”

Carbon pricing needs a policy pal

The carbon pricing increase was undoubtedly one of the big Canadian climate policy wins of 2020. But, according to this new blog from Efficiency Canada’s policy director, carbon pricing will need to enlist the help of green industrial policy if it is to reach its true potential. “Industrial policy concerns itself with the direction of economic change—it can navigate and steer while carbon pricing pushes.”

A lion’s share

Quebec-based Lion Electric Company has a big potential new backer. The electric bus and truck maker has offered retail giant Amazon the right to buy 15.8% of the company, which, if it goes ahead, includes a deal to reserve enough manufacturing capacity to deliver Amazon up to 500 trucks a year from 2021 to 2025.

The latest EV gossip

There’s been a new flurry of speculation about Apple’s rumoured electric car, including that Ontario-based auto parts company Magna (which also recently agreed to provide driver assistance technology to EV maker Fisker) could be in line for a contract with the tech giant. But an announcement from Hyundai late last week suggests that Apple could, in fact, be turning to the South Korean car maker for an auto sector partner. 

2020 EV sales break records

Meanwhile, Norway’s precocious EV reputation is showing no signs of diminishing after data revealed that more than half of 2020 car sales in the country were BEVs. And although Norway is leading the charge, other countries are hot on its wheels. EV sales in Germany tripled last year, while vehicles with full or partial electric propulsion reached a market share of 22% in the fourth quarter. 

Money talks

Canadian-American billionaire financier and mine builder Robert Friedland is eyeing up the investment opportunity in the energy transition by aiming to raise as much as US$230 million to acquire a clean energy company. His investment firm Ivanhoe Capital is looking for “any company in the supply chain from mine site to the end user of electrification products and services.”

Power sharing agreements

A new op-ed by professors Mark Jaccard and Blake Shaffer explores the carbon-cutting benefits of power sharing between B.C. and Alberta—especially if B.C.’s controversial hydroelectric dam Site C is built. B.C.’s hydropower could be invaluable in helping Alberta transition away from fossil fuels. While its critics have a number of legitimate concerns about Site C, and whether it should be completed even now, what's more clear cut than the project itself is the benefit of provinces sharing power

Sparking a hydrogen rally

Last week was a good one for B.C.-based hydrogen fuel cell company Ballard Power, which saw its share price rise 16% to its highest close since May 2002. The boost came after South Korean conglomerate SK Group acquired a 10% share in an entirely different fuel cell company, sending its share price up and sparking a rally across the hydrogen sector.

Grid cleaning

Speaking of hydrogen, a village in the U.K. is soon to be home to one of the first trials of blended hydrogen and natural gas in a public grid system—and at 20% hydrogen, it will be one of the highest hydrogen proportions tested in Europe. Gas isn’t the only grid cleaning up its act: The U.K. power grid’s carbon intensity dropped 60% in the six years before 2019, and it’s now reportedly heading for its ”greenest year yet.”

2021’s hot topics

2020 will stand out for many reasons, not least because it was the joint-warmest on record. And although the planet is hotting up, so is clean energy. Here’s Bloomberg with 10 ways renewable energy’s boom will shape 2021. After all, according to the BBC, this year could be a “turning point for tackling climate change.” 

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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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