National Newswatch
National Opinion Centre

One year ago, the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act became law. The legislation commits the federal government to the ambitious goal of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. To meet its target, the government has called upon public and private stakeholders to join in this mission. Innovating and enabling the energy sector to meet these goals requires significant investment.

The shifting global energy landscape is creating opportunities. Domestically and abroad, governments and key decision makers are reimagining energy dependencies and identifying solutions to transition to a cleaner economy. The private sector is investing in these new opportunities and creating innovative solutions.

Canada has an impressive record of being the best-in-class energy provider in the carbon-based economy, but now needs to act boldly to attain that position in the low carbon economy. As global demands for green energy solutions persist, we have reached a watershed moment. Canada must become a destination for green energy investments, but to do so, Canada needs to foster a more appealing investment environment than it currently has.

Governments traditionally play a role in infrastructure investment at times of pivotal change. Australia presents a great case study for this. The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is equipped with an AUD$2.5 billion fund to advance renewable energy technologies towards commercial readiness. This Federal fund is strongly supported by multiple State grant programs, such as the Queensland’s Solar 150 Program, and New South Wales Pumped Hydro Recoverable Grants Program both of which have been excellent drivers of public-private partnerships directly supporting Australia’s net-zero goals.

Australia’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) offer low-cost debt to renewable projects at all stages of development. The creation of these bodies is a strong investment signal to the private sector, that can be a catalyst to securing strategic partners and offtake agreements. Canada needs to create similar agencies with this intent.

Integrating best practices from around the world will not only help Canada achieve its net-zero objectives, it will also diversify the economy, spur economic growth, produce world-class clean energy projects, and drive the creation of high-quality jobs in the clean energy and cleantech sectors.

Canada is a country of innovation – and the energy sector is up to the challenge of creating a more sustainable future. Across the country industry leaders are reimagining how and where we can produce energy.

In Alberta, our team is investigating how to convert an existing, idled coal mine into a renewable energy complex that will include a 320MW pumped hydro energy storage and a 100MW green hydrogen electrolyser. The proposed Tent Mountain Renewable Energy Complex will store wind and solar energy, provide essential stabilizing services to Alberta’s electricity grid, and accelerate grid decarbonisation. The green hydrogen production is planned to use renewable energy to convert sustainable, locally sourced water into the lowest carbon intensity hydrogen that can be produced. This project will revolutionise energy production in southern Alberta and will result in the permanent closure of a coal mine.

Solutions like this represent the paradigm shift Canada needs to achieve its net-zero objective. To see these projects come to fruition, Canadian governments need to make seed investments like the Government of Australia is making. Local, provincial and federal government officials must work with private sector partners so together, we can transform Canada’s energy sector.

Cementing Canada’s status as a global clean energy powerhouse is possible. The private sector is investing, but we need all levels of government to commit to supporting the transition to achieve this ambitious goal by 2050.

Peter Doyle is the Managing Director and CEO of Montem Resources Ltd.

The views, opinions and analyses expressed in the articles on National Newswatch are those of the contributor(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the publishers.
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