Canada falling behind in renewable energy investment, study says

Canada is dropping behind its major trading partners in renewable energy investment, according to a study from a clean energy advocacy group.

See Full Article

Merran Smith of Clean Energy Canada suggests government-set targets and goals for wind and solar power in regional energy grids is the best way to spur that investment and keep Canada in the game.

"Clean energy is taking off around the world and in the countries that we consider our markets," she said. "This is really a wake-up call for Canada."

Clean Energy Canada, in a report released Monday, found 2015 was a record-breaking year for investment in clean energy such as solar and wind power.

Using figures from international agencies and business databases, the group found a total of $497 billion was invested in 2015. That's a seven per cent increase from the previous year despite competition from low-priced fossil fuels.

The largest chunk of that money -- $226 billion -- was spent in developing countries, the study found.

About $218 billion went toward solar energy and about $150 billion was spent on wind power, the two largest types of investment.

The list of countries and regions that increased spending on renewable energy is long.

U.S. spending was up seven per cent. In the U.K. and India, it went up 23 per cent. China spent 17 per cent more on renewables and Mexico increased its investments by 114 per cent.

Meanwhile, spending in Canada actually declined by about half, even though the country remains ranked eighth in the world in terms of absolute dollars.

The reason, said Smith, is the lack of new government targets and regulations for the use of renewable energy.

"(Clean energy) doesn't need subsidies, it needs policies that commit to targets," Smith said.

Most of the investment that resulted from Ontario's decision to purchase more renewable energy has already happened, she said. Provinces such as British Columbia haven't made such promises yet and those that have, such as Alberta and Saskatchewan, have yet to come up with the details.

Alberta has promised to get just under a third of its power from renewables by 2030. Saskatchewan said by that year, half its electricity is expected to come from clean sources.

"We need to see that translated into policy this year," Smith said. "That will help boost Canada's investment.

"What we know is that good targets and good policy really help."

The first ministers' meeting on climate to be held this week in Vancouver could also help.

"One thing they could commit to is a clean energy plan for Canada that makes real, tangible clean energy commitments," she said.

Smith said that wind and solar power are becoming cheaper and more competitive with fossil fuels.

They're already cost-competitive in 30 countries, she said, adding that in a place such as Alberta, with large wind power potential, renewables can already compete with fossil fuels.


Latest Economic News

  • Canada presses for Thursday signing of free trade deal with EU

    Economic CTV News
    OTTAWA -- Canada appears to be discounting reports that the signing of its free trade agreement with the European Union might be delayed. Thursday has been set for the signing of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, or CETA, by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and EU leaders. Source
  • CETA impasse: How tiny Wallonia can hijack the EU-Canada deal

    Economic CTV News
    BRUSSELS -- It's a serious case of the tail wagging the dog. For days now, the small Belgian region of Wallonia, population 3.6 million, has been holding up the signature of a landmark free trade deal uniting over 500 million European Union citizens and 35 million Canadians. Source
  • Shoppers Drug Mart officially wants in on dispensing medical marijuana

    Economic CBC News
    Canada's largest pharmacy chain has formally applied to be a distributor of medical marijuana. "We have applied to be a licensed producer strictly for the purposes of distributing medical marijuana," Shoppers Drug Mart spokeswoman Tammy Smitham told CBC News in an email Tuesday. Source
  • A lousy economy is a good time to start a business, some Calgarians find

    Economic CBC News
    When Kelly Bruce was laid off from her job, it ended a 17-year career working in the oilpatch corporate office towers in downtown Calgary. The news came on a Wednesday in January, and at first she was in shock. Source
  • BlackBerry rolls out new DTEK60 smartphone designed by partner company

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO -- BlackBerry released on Tuesday its second smartphone designed and built externally, the latest development in the company's push away from manufacturing handsets as it focuses more on its security software. The DTEK60, designed and manufactured by TCL Corp. Source
  • Nissan hiring 300 to develop common connected car technology

    Economic CTV News
    YOKOHAMA, Japan -- The top executive overseeing connected vehicles at Nissan and Renault believes the benefits of developing a common technology for connectivity within the Japanese and French auto partnership outweigh the risks of sustaining huge damage from a possible defect or cyberattack. Source
  • Troubled Italian bank unveils overhaul plan to stay afloat

    Economic CTV News
    MILAN -- Troubled Italian bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena unveiled Tuesday a restructuring plan that will include new management, thousands of job cuts, hundreds of branch closings and the disposal of soured loans in a bid to entice investors to inject up to 5 billion euros ($5.5 billion) in new capital. Source
  • U.K. to decide on new airport runway in crowded London

    Economic CTV News
    LONDON -- Britain's government is expected Tuesday to back a plan to expand London's Heathrow airport despite concerns about air pollution, noise and the destruction of homes in the capital's densely populated western neighbourhoods. Transport Secretary Chris Grayling will inform Parliament of the government's decision on how to expand London's airport capacity. Source
  • Ont. electricity system operator reports $80M loss after accounting change

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO -- Ontario's efforts to ease the upward pressure on electricity rates has been dealt a setback by a change in accounting practices. In the government's public accounts for 2015-16, the Independent Electricity System Operator reported a "previously unrecognized actuarial loss and past service costs" of just over $80 million. Source
  • Asian stocks mixed after manufacturing reports offset by weak South Korea data

    Economic CTV News
    SEOUL, South Korea -- Asian stocks were mixed on Tuesday as upbeat reports on manufacturing in the U.S. and Europe were followed by weak growth data from South Korea, Asia's fourth-largest economy. KEEPING SCORE: Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.7 per cent to 17,354.68 while South Korea's Kospi fell 0.5 per cent to 2,036.86. Source