Courthouse News Service
Canada is making a big push to achieve its commitment of becoming carbon neutral by 2050, beginning with a new $797 million clean energy investment over the next four years. Though not everyone is convinced the government is committing the resources necessary to meet its own lofty goals.
The latest investment is part of the country’s Smart Renewables and Electrification Pathways Program (SREP) designed to clamp down on carbon emissions and phase out coal-fired power plants, without threatening energy stability in the often-frigid country.
“The government of Canada is investing $964 million [CAD] over four years in the new Smart Renewables and Electrification Pathways Program (SREPs) to advance the rollout of non-emitting, energy projects like wind, solar, hydro and geothermal,” a Natural Resources Canada spokesperson in an email. “SREPs also supports enabling technologies, such as storage and smart grids. The government is investing such a large sum of money into this program to encourage the replacement of fossil-fuel generated electricity with renewables.”
“From an economic perspective, we need less help with established renewable energy systems (wind, solar) and more help with technologies that are still at an early development or demonstration stage,” said Dr. Werner Antweiler, professor at the Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia, in an email. “This part of the program is focused on innovation. One of the largest untapped potentials in Canada is geothermal, a technology which has matured in the last two decades and is no longer the exclusive domain of ‘flash steam’ locations such as Iceland. Modern binary geothermal systems can also provide waste heat for district heating or agricultural facilities. My hope is that geothermal projects will be funded through the SREP program.”