In the speech from the throne, Governor General Julie Payette reiterated that this Liberal government wants to “build back better” while Canada recovers from the economic and health crisis of Covid-19. While the government fully supports investing in clean energy and good paying jobs, there are many details still unknown, and there will need to be input to the federal government on how best the government can deliver over the coming years.
The speech outlined four key areas that support the OSEA mission in Ontario, which represents about 40 percent of Canada’s economy;
1. Building Retrofits
The government has announced $2B to invest in building retrofits to get the transformation of ourcommercial building stock and housing across Canada energy efficient. While a significant first step there is much more investment required out to 2050. These funds could create an Energy Efficiency Bank for Canada and be levered to the $15-$20 B required with today’s ultra-low interest rates. More skills training and capacity building is needed, especially in technologies like Geo-Exchange. Ontario has many skilled companies in this technology and is ready to accelerate change.
2. Clean Power
The government intends to spend $2.5B in clean energy and renewables in Canada. Since renewables are now less expensive than other traditional sources of electricity, there will be huge opportunities here for those in the sector and companies wanting to secure contracts. For Ontario this translates into roughly $1B of allocated funds. There will have be enhanced provincial policies on skills training, and there might be greater involvement of the work being done by the IESO to more rapidly open new market revenues that will compliment traditional wind and solar with energy storage and ancillary services.
3. Zero-Emission vehicles
The government will spend $1.5B to get zero emission bus fleets and charging technology to be adopted faster, targeting some 5,000 transit and school buses which now are less than 10 percent of the HD and medium vehicle fleets. In addition to this statement will be the need for procurement so more of it occurs nationally. Additionally, studies on how the distribution utilities will accommodate these new loads should be undertaken. For Ontario, this could translate into roughly $600m.
4. Remote Communities
Here the federal government intends to spend $2.5B for clean energy and another $2B for building retrofits. This could be a once in a lifetime opportunity to ensure indigenous housing and communities are properly built, rebuilt and become resilient to the fast impacts of climate change.
OSEA and its membership will work hard to advance all of the above areas.