It is with regret that I announce today that Canadian Green Tech will no longer be publishing articles, insights or news. The Canadian Green Tech Weekly Briefing, the main instrument for reaching readers, will also stop publication.
Over the last eight+ years, I have witnessed a major shift in the Canadian green and clean technology sector. It went from one that was largely ignored by governments, left to succeed without the financial and policy support afforded conventional energy and large industry. The federal government of the day was more interested in pipelines and getting Canadian resources to tide water than they were in building a sector for the future.
Despite that lack of federal policy support, entrepreneurs and innovators continued their work, largely to go after much larger international market opportunities. In recent years, particularly since the election of the Liberals in 2015, the federal perspective on this sector has changed.
There is now specific policy and funding support for new green and clean technology innovations. It’s no longer an economy versus environment discussion as it was under the previous Conservative government. Rather, protecting the environment, supporting green technology development and fighting climate change can be a big driver for the Canadian economy.
In addition to tackling major domestic challenges such as trying to help First Nations communities kick the diesel habit, the Liberals have brought Canada back to the international table alongside other nations fighting to address climate change.
In the last eight years, there has been big movements at the provincial level. Ontario was out in front of the green tech sector back in 2009 whiles others languished or simply chose to focus on fossil fuels. The Green Energy and Economy Act ushered in a new way of supporting renewable energy such solar, wind, biomass and biogas in the province. But of course, there were hiccups. Domestic content rules, designed to establish an Ontario base of manufacturers, were somewhat successful. But ultimately, they were forced aside because of a World Trade Organization complaint.
They were other problems too. High rates paid to those hosting solar projects is perhaps the most well known. But for others, the real issue was the constant government involvement in the Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) Program. It should have been a much more dynamic and marketing responding program rather than one that was micro-managed by elected officials.
As with all good things, the FIT Program must come to an end. And it will in the very near future. The last remnants, the small scale MicroFIT Program, will soon replaced by an enhanced net metering program.
Over the years, there has been considerable policy shift in the provinces. New Brunswick and Nova Scotia have in recent times made big strides in renewable energy and energy efficiency, including the development of tidal power. Even Alberta, in the wake of a long depressed oil and gas sector and a new $50 a barrel reality, has gotten on board, investing considerable sums to deploy cleaner energy sources.
Canadian Green Tech was officially launched on February 1, 2009 and since that time I’ve written upwards of 400 original articles on everything from carbon capture and storage and reuse to energy storage, from new hydrogen fuel cell innovations to smart grid technologies, and from energy efficiency products to new wastewater approaches. In that collection of insights are also many articles on House of Commons and Senate committee meetings, news conferences, report launches and industry events.
I thoroughly enjoyed learning about these new innovations, these products and services that are going to make Canada and the world more sustainable. This is what I’ll miss most about closing Canadian Green Tech. These people were passionate about their companies, their innovations and their products and it came through in the many interviews I did.
I wouldn’t change any of it.
The Conference Board of Canada is adding to an ever expanding literature that argues Canada won’t be able to meet its climate change commitment of a 30% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 by simply implementing a national price on carbon pollution.
Two recent announcements out of Ontario demonstrate the extent to which the province is attempting to convince consumers to reduce their energy use and associated greenhouse gas emissions. First the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) approved new electricity pricing pilot projects for three utilities and then the provincial government unveiled a plan to give away 100,000 smart thermostats for free.
The Ontario government is offering more money to support the development of alternative energy and conservation, bioproducts and new carbon capture and use technologies. The Low Carbon Innovation Fund was launched this week.