Renewable energy industry growing from strength to strength

November 05, 2020

The heightened awareness over environmental pollution and climate change has led to exponential growth and investment in the renewables and green technology industries.

Lexpert reports that this year alone has seen the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board invest €200 million into renewable energy in France, and the Canadian government has also committed to a C$9.4 million investment in four Atlantic tidal energy projects.

Speaking to Lexpert on the movement towards renewable energy, partner Krista Hill said that “there’s a long history in all of the provinces, especially Ontario, Québec and B.C., of hydro power”, but she pointed out that due to government investment, “there’s been huge growth” from around 2003 in wind and solar projects, and as well as biomass projects in some regions.

Krista also noted that due to power being under provincial jurisdiction, each province is different in their approach. Ontario and Québec lead the pack for energy programs, including “a huge amount of wind and solar developments in Ontario.”

Partner Valerie Helbronner also weighed in on trends in the energy sector and emphasized that renewables would play a key role in all new projects.

“Going forward, there are a huge number of projects and policies to set up and facilitate renewable projects,” she said.  

“We don’t see a huge number of projects currently being built, [with] the focus on climate change initiatives and decarbonization, we can certainly expect that renewables will very much be a part of any of those initiatives.”

Wind and solar power have reached price parity due to technological advances and increased competition, Valerie commented.

“But because of advances and the number of players involved in the industry and the passage of time, we’re seeing those technologies being competitive. We can expect that all renewable technologies will be part of the climate change plan going forward,” she said.

Watch: Tune into our webinar: “Meaningful relationships, successful projects: Indigenous involvement in projects in Canada” for insight on how building strong relationships with Indigenous proponents is a critical point of focus to the success of many projects in Canada.

Valerie also spoke about the importance of involving Indigenous groups in all infrastructure projects and pointed out that these projects can have a transformative effect, especially on communities based in remote locations. 

“In any infrastructure project, the role of Indigenous people within those projects will be fundamentally important. There’s often an alliance of values and interests in terms of what renewable energy projects represent and a real opportunity for remote communities in terms of having renewables assist them with their energy needs,” Valarie said.

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