Global CleanTech 100 and Canada’s 11 winners
Just like our Liberal Pontiac MP William Amos, Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, is active and very connected with Canadians via Facebook. Dropping by her page this week, I saw her February 1 post, a “shout-out to all the Canadian entrepreneurs owning the clean growth century.”
She linked to a Financial Post newspaper analysis, “Canada cleans up on the Global CleanTech 100 list, with 11 winners.” (bit.ly/2kPSfvA)
San Francisco’s CleanTech Group monitors trends in the sustainable technology sector, and annually publishes a review of the top 100 clean technology industries. Reading that story was inspiring. I’d never heard of these eleven Canadian environmental technology businesses – here are just a few of them.
Ottawa’s GaN Systems “develops gallium nitride (GaN) technologies.” (gansystems.com) They make “gallium nitride power switching transistors for consumer, datacenter, industrial and transportation markets” where GaN “overcomes silicon’s limitations” in such things as switching speeds and currents.
Halifax-based CarbonCure is a “producer of carbon-sequestering equipment for precast concrete production.” (carboncure.com/) Their website claims, “Carbon dioxide is now more than just a greenhouse gas; it is a valuable material to help make better concrete.”
Vancouver-based Axine Water technologies develops “breakthrough, low-cost, chemical-free solutions for treating high concentrations of complex, toxic organics and ammonia in industrial wastewater.” CEO Jonathan Rhone explains, “Water is kind of like a 2×4 across the head. A disruption in our ability to access safe, clean water has an immediate impact.”
Toronto’s Ecobee develops “Wi-Fi enabled smart thermostats for residential and commercial applications to maximise homeowners’ comfort and savings.” (ecobee.com) Their website claims “Saving 23% on your heating and cooling costs is just the beginning.” Of these top 11 green energy companies, none reside in Quebec: five are in BC, four in Ontario, one in Halifax, one in Winnipeg.
Clean technology support required
It strikes me that McKenna and our Prime Minister are perpetrators of doublespeak. They support LNG (Liquified Natural Gas) pipeline development. They have endorsed Site C, the $9.9B megaproject that will create an 83-km reservoir in the Peace River Valley, where electricity produced will help power the LNG production. (bit.ly/1IuFNvA)
Meanwhile, what’s this about the clean-technology industries? What are we to believe? Clarification needed, please, Will, Catherine and Justin.
I think it’s a shame we don’t hear McKenna strongly stating she’ll abolish or phase-out subsidies to the fossil fuel industry.
I want to hear my Prime Minister and Minister of Environment and Climate Change state strong financial support by way of subsidies to this crucial industrial sector.
I believe we need federal, provincial, and municipal leadership whereby clean technology industries are given subsidies and other active encouragement, to do their R&R, and to develop sustainable, clean industries for Canada’s cleaner future.
Note: after Googling “Canadian funding of clean tech” I discovered the Sustainable Development Technology Canada website where on September 19, the website reports the Government of Canada invested more than $45M in advanced clean energy projects. So what am I talking about? Desmog Canada claims the fossil fuel industry gets a $2.7 Billion subsidy annually from governments.
That subsidy estimate is a bit higher at the International Institute for Sustainable Development where its website claims $3.4B is given annually to oil and gas producers. They explain, “Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his government have promised to stop subsidizing fossil fuels in Canada—that was a clear and specific promise in their election platform. But the federal government’s latest budget actually locked in some fossil fuel subsidies for another 10 years.” (bit.ly/2kWlCME)
Frankly, I don’t know, how many billions are given the oil and gas industries. What I wonder, however, is this: Why not reverse these numbers and put the larger amount of taxpayer-generated subsidies into clean technology? I can comprehend that withdrawal from all fossil fuel is impossible at once, but I don’t see how these continued, billion-dollar subsidies of oil and gas make sense, if we’re to shake the status quo and move to renewable energy.
Envisioning capital region, clean-tech R&R
Can Canada give deeper economic incentives for clean tech? I hope so. Wouldn’t it be great to see our National Capital Region home to several such industries which would be internationally recognized leaders in sustainability?
Katharine Fletcher is a freelance writer, columnist, author and visual artist. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo: Alana Repstock