QUEST Appears Before House Of Commons’ Standing Committee on Natural Resources
February 23, 2017. Today, Brent Gilmour, QUEST’s Executive Director, presented to the House of Commons’ Standing Committee on Natural Resources on Clean Technology in Canada’s Natural Resources Sectors.
The Standing Committee is conducting an assessment of policy instruments designed to de-risk the adoption of clean technology in Canada’s natural resources sector.
Brent’s testimony included that there is no shortage of capital to invest in clean energy technology and there are no shortage of community energy scale projects. The Community Energy Planning: Getting to Implementation Project has documented over 250 Community Energy Plans, covering more than 50 percent of the population, that have identified the need to deploy mature clean technologies for energy efficiency, renewable energy, the efficient use of conventional energy sources, and for transportation.
One of the challenges is that many community scale projects are best positioned to be delivered by Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs). However, this sector often lacks the capacity and funds to procure the kinds of professional advisory services that larger companies typically would underwrite such as engineering studies, debt financing, equity capital raising, power purchase agreements,and associated legal services for a cleantech project. As a result, many of community projects identified in the 250 community energy plans are at risk of not going ahead, even when the underlying economics may be sound and it is in a community’s best long-term interest to see them proceed.
There is an immediate opportunity and need to de-risk cleantech projects and attract investment for community scale energy projects, like renewable natural gas, district energy systems, combined heat and power, smart grids, and energy efficiency retrofits and the construction of new ‘net zero’ buildings.
The following three key considerations were shared with the Committee with regards to de-risking clean technology projects:
Promote the development of purpose-built lending products to foster small and medium-sized enterprise adoption of clean technologies, including energy efficiency, district energy/combined heat and power, micro-cogeneration, renewable natural gas and smart grids. (example: Global Green Growth Institute: $30M fund attracting $430M private sector investment)
Facilitate stronger networks through a greater focus on clean technologies in broader initiatives that support centres of excellence, communities of interest, and partnerships among researchers, entrepreneurs and industry, with the goals of advancing and demonstrating emerging technologies and supporting commercialization in key opportunity areas. (example: The Low Carbon Partnership: $30M to support 4000 SMEs)
Pilot the establishment of a project development advisory program with the purpose of supporting community-scale projects through the development process and connecting them with investors. (example: Climate Investor One: Supporting the project development stage)