GLOBE Foundation

BC has reached a tipping point for cleantech: Ernst & Young


Source: GLOBE Foundation

British Columbia has the resources and potential to be a world cleantech leader, but has yet to capitalize on these advantages, according to a new report released by Ernst & Young, Making BC a clean energy powerhouse.

The report findings are based on a working session that took place in Vancouver, bringing together industry leaders and representatives to find solutions for various challenges in the cleantech sector.

Participants agree that BC has all the components necessary to become a world-class cleantech leader: unparalleled natural resources; the advantage of the Pacific Gateway; a strong pipeline of innovative technology companies and entrepreneurial spirit; a carbon tax and offset programs; and strong local leadership.

'BC's natural advantages - combined with government willingness to step up with programs and funding to date - have laid a strong foundation for making BC a clean energy powerhouse,' says Cynthia Orr, the Vancouver-based National Cleantech Leader for Ernst & Young. '

This will result in stronger investment in cleantech, and prevent other countries from exploiting our resources without being properly invested here,' adds Orr.

Significant hurdles were identified by attendees, including the current procurement system, which participants worry is inefficient in getting new projects off the ground. Other concerns include the unpredictable investment environment in Canada and the lack of incentives for cleantech technology, which, in some cases, is still cost prohibitive compared to traditional energy.

'There is still a significant need for clear regulatory guidance to help the industry understand which projects are viable,' says Nicole Poirier, BC Cleantech Leader for Ernst & Young. 'Comprehensive legislation and clearer principles would bring together disparate areas in BC and address several of the clean energy challenges.'

The recent BC budget included $100 million over three years for research and development in the sector to support transportation infrastructure, development of biofuels, and research and development of green power technology. Still, critics worry it's not enough and we need to move faster to meet climate targets.

The report outlines four ideas for immediate focus, which include branding BC locally and abroad as an investment destination, getting cleantech products to market more quickly through a hands-off government approach, establishing a more effective procurement process, and creating a new technology organization that would make the early days of technology adoption more affordable.

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