An interesting report just released by Environmental Defence (a Canadian non-profit) and the United Steelworkers (one of the largest private sector unions in Canada) draws attention to Canada’s lag on renewable energy spending as compared to the U.S.
The report argues that job creation, economic recovery, and environmental health in Canada will trail behind other countries if the federal government does not throw its weight behind this new economic sector. According to the report, in 2008, Canada ranked 31st out of 42 countries for clean energy sales relative to GDP, barely ahead of Tunisia, Indonesia, Malaysia and Egypt.
Of course, the renewable energy sector does have seemingly unstoppable momentum at the moment, a number of sound green energy policies are popping up in the country (see British Colombia’s recently announced Clean Energy Act, or the federal government’s Sustainable Development Technology Program), and progressive policies in some countries can’t help but bring up the industry globally.
Ontario’s Green Energy Act, passed on May 14, 2009, put the province on the world map as a lucrative, supportive renewable energy market, so it might have been easier to lose sight of the big picture. But it’s worth taking a step back. The Canadian Solar Industry Association has a lead on this. Recognizing the lack of a coherent national strategy for solar energy, they’ve realigned their priorities to develop one. We look forward to reading CANSia Solar Vision 2025 which, according to their Spring/ Summer 2010 newsletter, they will present at their December conference in Toronto.
Relatedly – Happy Canada Day everyone!