Prospects for a green COVID-19 recovery in Canada
Brian O’Callaghan and Cameron Hepburn
June 2020 as Submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance and the Senate National Finance Committee
In Canada, clean physical infrastructure investment could be directed to building new wind and solar electricity assets to complement existing hydroelectric generation. The prevalence of hydroelectricity in Canada, approximately 60% of the current electricity mix (Natural Resources Canada, 2020), puts the nation in a strong position to reach a 100% renewables future without concern for the grid balancing and stability issues which have limited progress in other countries. Further, there is an opportunity to expand cheap clean electricity generation beyond the domestic needs of Canada for export to the US or indeed to other markets.
Investment in green hydrogen infrastructure could enable electricity storage and transport and follow the European Union (European Commission, 2020), Germany (German Coalition Committee, 2020) and Australia (Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, 2020). Transmission infrastructure and electric vehicle charging networks are also desirable investment options.
Canada could learn from the successes of EnerGuide and ecoENERGY Retrofit in the 2000s to quickly direct capital towards insulation, building electrification, and smart home systems. Associated opportunities are found in retraining programs, to redirect workers to capture green economy employment opportunities for new school, college, and university leavers.
Suggested Citation: O’Callaghan, B. Hepburn, C. 2020. Prospects for a green COVID-19 recovery in Canada. Submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance and the Senate National Finance Committee.