In this episode host Tyler Hamilton interviews Ron Dizy, managing director of the Advanced Energy Centre at the Mars Discovery District in Toronto. Discussion includes flywheel technology from Temporal Power, opportunities for Canadian cleantech companies in Chile and China, and how to reduce barriers that will help Canadian cleantech companies scale up.
WWF-International released a study today ranking the cleantech market activities of countries around the world. The report predicts that by 2020 the cleantech industry will be worth $2.45 trillion, ranking as the third-largest global industry behind automobiles and electronics.
According to the 44-country ranking, measured by cleantech sales as a percentage of GDP, the Top 3 countries are Denmark, Brazil and Germany. China ranked sixth. The U.S. ranked 19th, just one position behind the United Kingdom. On the bottom half of the list are Australia, ranked 28th, and Canada, ranked 31st. Keith Stewart at WWF said the results come as a warning to Canada. “This report shows that Canada is far behind countries like the U.S. and China in investing in green technologies, in real and relative terms,” he said. “You can be sure the Chinese economy will not sit still while we sit on our hands.”
Stewart said it doesn’t help that come the end of January 2010 a Canadian federal incentive program designed to promote renewable energy development will run out of budgeted funds. While there is talk of re-charging the fund next year there is still likely to be a major funding gap, creating the kind of bust-boom cycle that once held back the U.S. wind and solar markets. Have we not learned from past mistakes?
Okay, to be clear from the start the “fund” mentioned in the headline isn’t just for cleantech ventures but also companies in the life sciences and digital media. That said, the “Emerging Technologies Fund” announced today by John Wilkinson, Ontario’s minister of research and innovation, could prove effective if administered properly.
The Ontario government has created the $250-million, five-year fund to help ventures based in the province navigate through the dreaded “Valley of Death” that far too often sucks the life out of companies poised for great things but incapable financially of delivering. It’s essentially a co-investment fund, based on a model out of Scotland, whereby the government will match, dollar for dollar, any funding of Ontario-based companies that comes from qualified venture capitalists and angel investors. Nifty. Continue reading Government program to “unlock” half billion in venture cap for Ontario firms
The mainstream business press, always eager to say “We told you so” and “history will repeat itself,” appears quite eager to announce the demise of cleantech and all the associated buzz it carries. The bubble is bursting, they say. The return to cheap oil will kill the green movement, they declare. They point to some weakling companies in the cleantech sector that are struggling, or to the dramatic drop in sector stock prices, and say cleantech’s days are numbered. A front-page business story today in Canada’s Globe and Mail features the headline: “Has the sun set on cleantech?” Apparently financial investors are giving up on cleantech and, like the dot-com bubble, it’s all about to burst.
Such pronouncements are getting rather tired. Continue reading Talk of bursting cleantech bubble getting tired
There have been a number of good stories and blog postings about the extent to which the credit crunch and its economic downside will hurt renewable energy projects and act as a drag on cleantech financing. Here’s my own take on how things are playing out in Ontario. Continue reading The credit crunch and its impact on green projects