Ontario Lifts Canada in Global Clean Energy Ranking

pewcoverIn an unexpected and encouraging turn of events, Canada has jumped up the ranks of an annual survey of clean-energy investment leaders published by Pew Charitable Trusts and Bloomberg New Energy Finance

We moved up from a ho-hum 12th to a respectable seventh place in the 2013 “Who’s Winning the Clean Energy Race?”  survey.

The global story was mixed—year-over-year investment in clean energy dropped 11 percent last year, but on the flip side, declining costs meant more deployment per dollar spent.

However, Canada’s performance stood out:

  • Canada was one of only three G-20 countries—alongside Japan and the United Kingdom—that experienced increased levels in clean energy investment.
  • In fact, Canada was the second-fastest growing market in the G-20 with a 45 percent increase in investment to US$6.5 billion.
  • Investment in the wind sector grew by more than 40 percent to US$3.6 billion as a number of backlogged projects in Ontario were permitted and others completed.
  • Canada’s solar sector also spiked, hitting US$2.5 billion in investment—almost 50 percent more than in 2012.
  • TransAlta Renewable’s Initial Public Offering (IPO) was noted as a prominent public market transaction.

It’s worth noting that the action in Canada largely reflects activity in Ontario, which has implemented some of North America’s most ambitious policies to spur investment in renewable energy.

The surge in investment in 2013 was, in part, the result of an effort to get a large number of projects financed ahead of reforms to Ontario’s feed-in-tariff program (which reduces future incentives).

This raises the question—was 2013 the start of a new trend of growing investment in clean energy in Canada, or an anomaly that will see us fall back behind the pack again in 2014?

When asked that question, Phyllis Cuttino, Pew’s clean energy director, responded: “We’ll be keeping a close eye on Canada in 2014.”

As will we.

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