Building Ontario's green economy while tackling climate change
Supporting innovation is part of the McGuinty government's five-point plan for growing Ontario's economy. Ontario's Innovation Agenda is the government's strategy for turning great ideas into good-paying jobs and better lives for Ontario families.
Backed by close to $3 billion in spending over eight years, the agenda focuses on supporting innovation and growth in sectors where Ontario has the research and business strengths to dominate high-growth global markets. Tackling climate change through bio-based, environmental, alternative energy and clean technologies is one of these sectors.
A key challenge faced around the globe today is finding ways to replace non-renewable carbon products, such as those derived from oil and gas, with renewable carbon, such as those found in forestry and agriculture. Ontario is well positioned to develop innovative solutions in this area. The province has a wealth of renewable carbon and the world is looking for jurisdictions that can turn this into clean technologies like new fuels and new materials that reduce our environmental footprint on the planet.
JOBS OF THE FUTURE
Clean technology covers more than just green energy and recycling. It spans the economy.
In agriculture, clean technology encompasses bio-based materials, farm-efficiency technologies, micro-irrigation systems and natural pesticides.
Energy applications include distributed and renewable energy generation, conversion (including fuel cells, geothermal, wind and solar power) and storage, key enabling technologies, and related information technology-based services.
In water, there is recycling and ultra-filtration systems, sensors and automated systems.
Examples from manufacturing include advanced packaging, high-value materials recovery, natural chemistry, sensors, smart construction materials and precision manufacturing instruments.
Transportation opportunities can be found in hybrid vehicles, lighter materials, smart logistics software and telecommuting.
INVESTMENTS IN CLEAN TECHNOLOGY AND THE GREEN ECONOMY
Innovation is key to tackling climate change and turning the rising global demand for non-petroleum based fuels and renewable energy into jobs and investment for Ontario.
Today, the province is home to more than 45 per cent of Canada's environment firms.
Ontario is taking many bold steps to be at the forefront of the green economy. The province's investments are focused on seizing global market opportunities through industry-academic-government collaborations and partnerships.
Centre for Research and Innovation in the Bio-Economy - Located in Thunder Bay, the $25-million Centre for Research and Innovation in the Bio-Economy (CRIBE) will focus on creating new opportunities and high-paying jobs in the rapidly growing and cutting-edge bio-economy. The centre will focus on research, development and commercialization as they relate to the next generation of renewable forestry bio-products.
University of Western Ontario Bioproducts Initiative - Ontario is investing $7.5 million in the University of Western Ontario's Bioproducts Initiative, which consists of two projects that are taking different approaches to turn farm byproducts and waste into next-generation biofuels. The funding supports the creation of a new research centre to test biofuel technologies, and will help complete a biogas facility that will turn manure and wastewater into energy, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and odour.
Investment Accelerator Fund - The Investment Accelerator Fund helps eligible start-up companies develop their technology and gain entrepreneurial expertise to bring their product or service to market. In January, Ontario announced investments of up to $500,000 in eight companies. One of these is Regen Energy, which has developed a unique, wireless controller that manages peak electrical demand - technology that promises to bring better energy management to the world.
Innovation Demonstration Fund - Ontario's four-year, $30-million Innovation Demonstration Fund helps companies demonstrate and commercialize new bio-based, environmental or alternative energy technologies, helping them bring these technologies to market faster. Recently funded companies include EcoVu, whose technology is aimed at helping bring clean, safe water to the world; Plasco Energy Group, whose technology is aimed at generating clean energy from waste; and Verdant Power Canada, whose technology is aimed at turning river currents into affordable, reliable green energy.
Next Generation of Jobs Fund - Ontario's Next Generation of Jobs Fund is a five-year, $1.15-billion strategy to help innovative companies grow and create well-paying sustainable jobs for Ontario's highly skilled workers. One of the leading companies in this program is 6N Silicon, which has developed a cost-effective way to meet market demand for solar-grade silicon.
Since 2005 Ontario has invested $600-million to support green initiatives, including the work of Ontario's leading scientists working in key areas such as clean technologies, climate change and the bioeconomy. And through unique programs like the Innovation Demonstration Fund and Next Generation of Jobs Fund, Ontario is committed to helping savvy entrepreneurs turn our world-class research into products and services that we can sell to the world. Here are just a few more shining examples:
• Greencore Composites