As energy demand shifts away from fossil fuels, the zero emission economy looks set to benefit with a forecast of 360,000 jobs in clean transportation, according to a report by Clean Energy Canada
A new report from Clean Energy Canada (CEC), dubbed New Reality, projects a bright future for Canada’s clean energy sector with economy and jobs set to see the biggest jumps in growth.
Currently there are over 430,000 people employed in the sector nationally — more than Canada’s real estate industry. CEC’s report estimates those numbers will top 600,000 by the end of the decade. In addition, GDP for the clean energy sector could also increase by 58 per cent over the same period, making up 29 per cent of Canada’s total energy GDP.
The report is set against the backdrop of a battered global landscape. COVID-19 forced shutdowns worldwide and energy usage rates plummeted. But then, analysts saw an unexpected boon.
“While most energy sources struggled, renewable energy actually grew worldwide,” reads the CEC report. “Not only was it the only energy sector to do so, but it grew at its fastest pace in almost two decades.”
A tale of two energy sources
While renewables are riding a high this current decade, the fossil fuel industry is forecast to experience a nine per cent drop over the same period. The International Energy Agency says if net-zero emissions are achieved by 2050, there will be no need for new oil and natural gas exploration, notes the CEC report.
The future is clear, says CEC, Canada needs to prepare for a time when oil ceases to be its largest export even in holdout provinces. Based on Statistics Canada data and modelling, Alberta could see a 164 per cent increase in clean energy jobs over the next decade, while Saskatchewan will see double digit growth
“Climate action is no longer just a pollution-cutting imperative but an economic one too if we’re to transform our energy economy,” reads the report.
Where does the potential for most jobs exist?
From manufacturing; to mining; to recycling; to hydrogen, Canada already has a significant portion of its clean energy jobs in the clean transportation sector. By 2030, the CEC report projects that number is expected to reach over 360,000, with 184,000 people set to be employed in EV technology alone.
That’s 26 times the 2020 clean transportation sector employment numbers.
The growth is attributed to EVs representing 18 per cent of all new sales of passenger vehicles by the end of this decade. And this number may be low, cautions the report. If Canada and the U.S. adopt more aggressive policies such as those in British Columbia, Quebec and California, national demand will increase considerably.
If Canada ensures a smooth economic and labour transition away from fossil fuels over the next decade, not only will it help to achieve emission targets, says the CEC report, it will establish the country as an industry and technology leader in clean transportation and energy.