PURSUIT OF NET-ZERO — A $61B OPPORTUNITY IN ALBERTA’S CLEANTECH SECTOR

| Jane Mayaki |

 

Edmonton Global and Calgary Economic Development, in partnership with Prairies Economic Development Canada (PrairiesCan), recently commissioned the Alberta Energy Transition Study to determine the economic opportunity around growing the cleantech sector in Alberta. 

The study just being released indicates the global energy transition could create 170,000 jobs in the cleantech sector in Alberta and contribute $61 billion to GDP by 2050. It found that both Calgary and the Edmonton region are uniquely positioned to be leaders in a transition to a lower-carbon economy with our growing cleantech ecosystem, world-class resources and infrastructure; a long history of industry collaboration and investment; and a deep pool of specialized talent.

The study – conducted by three Alberta-based organizations: Delphi Group, Foresight Canada and Cleantech Group – concluded to capitalize on the opportunity thoroughly, Alberta will need to invest more than $2.1 billion a year in cleantech by 2030, increasing to $5.5 billion by 2040.

Alberta companies are leaders in cleantech investment in Canada, but the current level of investment is less than $1 billion annually. Without investment that is aligned with global commitments to net-zero, the study forecasts the sector would only generate 20,000 jobs and $4 billion in GDP by 2050.

The study identified six subsectors from the 16 across the cleantech ecosystem in the province that have the most significant potential to attract foreign direct investment, create quality jobs and help launch new startup companies:

  • Agtech and Agriculture,
  • Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage,
  • Digitalization,
  • Electrification,
  • Energy Efficiency,
  • Hydrogen Production and Utilization.

The Calgary-Edmonton Innovation Corridor is positioning the province as a leader in digital transformation. Calgary is rated as one of the Top 15 Cleantech ecosystems globally, and Edmonton was ranked the fastest-growing tech ecosystem in North America between 2015 in 2020. Ensuring we are a leader in the energy transition is a focus of the economic strategy of Calgary in the New Economy and Edmonton’s Community Energy Transition Strategy.

Alberta is a location for people who want to use technology to solve global challenges. The Alberta Energy Transition Study showcases the opportunities for sustainable, long-term growth and quality jobs for future generations.

Of the 945 cleantech companies in Alberta, 462 are headquartered in Calgary and 429 in the Edmonton region. The sector employs more than 14,600 directly in cleantech roles, with 137,000 people working in the broader cleantech ecosystem.

Among Alberta’s cleantech ventures, 51 percent are led by first-time founders, 32 percent have a trades background, 28 percent are born outside Canada, and 22 percent are female, versus 15.6 percent nationally.

Nearly two-thirds of Alberta’s more than 210 pureplay cleantech startups seek customers in the oil and gas sector; over 50 percent in power and utilities, and one-third in agriculture, mining, or manufacturing.

The report and supporting documents are available through the Edmonton Global website.

Quotes:

 “As a global leader in clean energy technologies such as hydrogen, digital innovation and carbon capture, the Edmonton Region is ready to welcome global partners to join us in our energy transition.”

Edmonton Mayor Amarjeet Sohi

“This report is more evidence that the Edmonton Metropolitan Region has what it takes to radically transform and grow our economy. We are actively seeking to attract forward-looking companies who share in our vision of investing in innovation and technology that helps the world get to a net-zero future.”

Malcolm Bruce, CEO, Edmonton Global

 

***The study was made possible thanks in part to funding from Prairies Economic Development Canada (PrairiesCan). 

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