The 2012/10/22 at 11:00
The keys to the success of this province on the clean technology market include financial aids, but also tax breaks addressed at clean technologies, and more generally, research and development. The strong partnerships established between universities and research centres also contribute to boosting the sector. The example of Queen’s University – which collaborates with industry to find technological solutions for commercialising fuel cell applications – is indicative of these productive synergies. Finally, great means are set aside for helping innovative businesses to develop in this sector through the simplification of administrative procedures (only two stages for setting up a start-up) as well as the creation of support infrastructures (business incubators and other “facilitation offices”).
Commerce International: How was Ontario’s current environmental economic development policy launched?
Brad Duguid: “Some time ago, we positioned ourselves in such a way to become leaders in the green economy. We set up a programme for encouraging the development of wind and solar energy, as well as biomass energy, in the Province. This paid off: the sector attracted over 20 billion dollars in investments, and over time created 50,000 jobs related to clean energies – highly appreciable in these economically troubled times. At the same period, we committed to putting an end to the use of coal in our energy supply system. Coal cost 3 billion dollars per year to our health system and affected our population. Our Prime Minister therefore undertook this initiative, no doubt the most significant in all of North America in terms of climate change. Today, we have fulfilled 96 to 97 % of our objective. By 2014, the desired result will be reached, and coal will be entirely replaced by cleaner energy sources.
What I strikes me in particular about this experience is that in normal times, economic activity generates itself around burgeoning opportunities, but this time, it is a State policy that has successfully led to the development of an entire sector.”
What areas have you decided to develop?
B.D.: “We obviously have got involved with solar and wind energy. But there are other sectors that we have backed, such as ‘smartgrids’, these networks allowing electricity to circulate and be used more intelligently thanks to modern technology. We are also working on storing energy, indispensable whenever we deal with intermittent energy sources such as the sun or wind.”
So do you see clean technologies as the face of the future?
B.D.: “Not exclusively, but this sector undoubtedly has a future! Worldwide, green technologies are expected to represent 3,000 billion dollars by 2020 and 7,000 billion dollars by 2030. This is far from negligible. In any case, I am convinced that enterprises and territories that are ahead in this domain today will be doing very well in the coming years. The only thing that remains to be done is to find the economic models corresponding to the different energy systems that will prevail all over the world, in the near future. And we in Ontario are proud of being part of this avant-garde.”
In Ontario, the clean technologies sector represents 8 billion dollars in yearly income and 1 billion dollars in export takings.
To date, the Green Energy Act has led to the creation of 20,000 jobs.
Ontario Province holds over 2,600 innovative enterprises in the environmental sector and 62,000 highly-qualified persons work in the sector.