Clean Energy Canada | Hydrogen strategy a good start but faces a competitive global landscape
December 16, 2020
TORONTO — Sarah Petrevan, policy director at Clean Energy Canada, made the following statement in response to the federal government’s new hydrogen strategy:
“Clean hydrogen represents a potentially significant opportunity for Canada, both as a climate solution and as a growing sector with global prospects.
“Canada’s long-awaited federal hydrogen strategy recognizes the importance of emissions intensity in the energy carrier’s production. At the same time, the plan falls short of what some other nations have put forward in terms of investment and ambition.
“While it remains to be seen just how much the hydrogen sector will grow internationally, some level of growth is all but certain, and the window of opportunity for Canada is now. Already, Canada is home to some of the world’s leading clean hydrogen technology companies, but where ample opportunity remains is in production.
“A recent Harvard study identified Canada as one of the nations with the most potential for producing and eventually exporting clean hydrogen, due to our relatively low-carbon power grid and an abundance of water, required for the process by which the world’s cleanest hydrogen is made.
“We’re glad the strategy recognizes the value of leveraging regional strengths and aims to complement provincial hydrogen efforts. The $ Low-carbon and Zero-emissions Fuels Fund to increase the production and use of low-carbon fuels, including hydrogen, will help underpin these efforts. Policies such as Canada’s world-leading carbon price and clean fuel standard will also help drive demand for hydrogen locally and attract additional investment.
“But it’s worth bearing in mind that countries like Germany, France and Portugal all have new hydrogen plans with billions in dedicated funding. Canada’s plan is a step in the right direction but lacks the specifics of a more robust strategy.
“The hydrogen race is on, and if Canada aims to secure a strong position, it must take stock of the competitive reality we now face—and compete accordingly.”
- The Task Force for a Resilient Recovery recommends dedicating $1 billion to support Canadian leadership in clean hydrogen.
- The EU, South Korea and several other governments around the world are leveraging post-pandemic recovery funds to invest in clean hydrogen.
- BloombergNEF estimates that clean hydrogen could meet up to nearly a quarter of the world’s energy demand by 2050.
- The cost of producing emissions-free “green” hydrogen is projected to be on par with “blue” hydrogen (which uses natural gas in combination with carbon removal) by 2030 and cheaper thereafter.
- Canada is home to several successful clean hydrogen companies.
- Ballard Power in Burnaby, B.C., is a developer and manufacturer of fuel-cell products.
- Proton Technologies in Calgary is developing a low-cost method for producing hydrogen that involves the underground combustion of remnant oil in abandoned reservoirs, keeping the emissions released during this process below the surface.
- Hydrogenics in Mississauga, Ontario, is a developer and manufacturer of hydrogen generation and fuel-cell products. It was acquired by Cummins last year.
Op-ed | “The world is betting on clean hydrogen – and Canada needs to get in the game” (The Globe and Mail)
Report | A New Hope
Poll | Most Canadians want Canada to be ‘world leading’ or ‘among the most ambitious’ when it comes to shifting to clean energy and clean technology