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The Shift Toward Clean Energy is Here

Updated on February 5, 2016

Seeing the Shift

Climate change impacts have finally lit a fire of urgency under the butts of leaders and people across the globe. Often people have to see it and experience it to believe it enough to change. That fire was lit by a world report released by the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2014.

Backed by hundreds of experts and 200 countries, it hit home hard about the immediate and dramatic change required of the entire world's power system. Also in 2014, the fairly new world organization the International Renewable Energy Agency (IREA) released its second edition of 'Rethinking Energy', an analysis which explains renewable energy must be at the core of every country's strategy to meet climate goals and prevent further catastrophic climate change. It calls for scaling up investments in renewable energy on a global level.

Bureaucrats got the signal from already witnessing catastrophic climate change in their countries but this was the policy alert they seemingly needed to get moving. Ordinary people were the ones actually forcing the change though mass migrations, moving off the corporate grid and taking their money and investing it elsewhere, especially in the renewable energy sector.

Provincial Investment in Clean Energy Canada


Change in Canada

This past year, investment in clean energy in Canada climbed 88 per cent in 2014 to nearly $11 billion, according to Clean Energy Canada. Ottawa still has its head in the sand on leading change, probably because the big oil and gas lobbyists are bullies and they may be afraid of losing interim transfer payments and investments or perhaps losing face. Whatever the reason, many of the provincial ministers recently met to talk about renewable energy and policy. This has helped lead to better subsidies to switch over and encouragement to banks to invest and lend. Canada now ranks sixth in the world in investment in domestic clean energy products.

Canada is behind on the switch but is making excellent progress. Canada now ranks 4th in world as a supplier of hydroelectricity. The boom in solar photovoltaic panels has been predominantly to residential and commercial installations indicating people are making the decision to switch. Presently about 26,900 people now work in the new clean energy industry. More national and municipal cooperation and innovation on climate change is needed to spark further growth.

The leader in the renewable energy race here at home is the province of Ontario in Canada. In passing its Green Energy Act, it attracted half of the nation's clean energy investments to the province. The province is now totally free of coal energy and shut down its last plant recently. Toronto's Northland Power secured a huge contract worth 5.8 billion to build a wind farm in the Netherlands. Quebec, with the largest wind farms in the country comes in a close second with British Columbia third for hydro power and Alberta fourth for wind. Manitoba and Quebec are leading in over 98% and 95% respectively, in renewable off grid power and overall policy support. Ontario's renewables grew by 12.7 billion compared to Alberta's growth of 2.3 billion and its indicated it needs improvements in policy and support.

Canada's utilities and developers have been building vast solar and wind farms, hydro plants, and biofuel and biomass plants predominantly in Quebec, Ontario, and British Columbia. Sustainable Development Canada, part of Federal Government, is the only federal agency, however, providing critical stage funding for energy projects at this time. With the Paris Agreement climate convention that happened in December 2015, new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed his government would support innovative change in Canada- time will tell.

Renewable Energy Trends World


Oil Can't Stop Renewables

This chart shows a conservative scenario. BNEF offers a more optimistic scenario is 8 percent to 10 percent higher. Source: Bloomberg New Energy Finance

Investments are steady and everyone is scrambling to reposition themselves in the new energy market. IREA reports solar is so strong not even oil can stop it now. Prices are falling so fast that solar will soon undercut even the cheapest fossil fuels, coal and natural gas. Solar power will be as cheap as, or cheaper than, electricity from the grid in as much as 80 percent of global markets by the end of 2017, according to Deutsche Bank's Shah.

Fossil-fuel subsidies outpace renewable-energy subsidies by a factor of 6 to 1 but this is quickly changing. Reducing the subsidy gap is one of the cheapest ways to increase fuel efficiency and speed up the switch to cleaner energy. Expect similar moves as the rising toll of climate change pushes governments to take action. Unlike oil, the price of renewables is predictable and always going down.

Global investment in clean energy increased 16 percent last year, to $310 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The U.S. and China, the world's biggest emitters, reached a historic deal in November to rein in greenhouse gases. Whether you believe the oil market has reached Peak Oil production point or not, with global changes in public policy and investment...the well informed know how this trend will end. The era of oil is over.

Top 10 Trends

  • A New Hope: Renewables Stall Out Carbon Pollution
  • As Solar Prices Drop, Affordability Rises
  • Tesla‚Äôs Gigafactory Poised to Unleash Battery Revolution
  • 100 Percent Renewable Energy Goes Mainstream
  • Climate Diplomacy Rising: Superpowers Move From Finger-Pointing to Handshaking
  • Wind Spreads Like Wildfire
  • Developing World Plugging In to Renewable Power
  • Carbon Pricing is Fast Becoming the New Normal
  • Global Clean Energy Economy Surging
  • Divestment Movement Gains New Allies

More Affordable Energy Independence

Individuals and families are making the change. The largest investments overall were in people investing in and purchasing solar panel arrays and installing them onto their roofs- poof bills be gone. Now, there is no reason to wait for a bureaucrat, a policy or a business to give you a cue. The cues are in the trends of climate change, global warming, mass migrations and in investments. Business and bureaucrats are late jumping on the bandwagon. Now you don't have to be. Join the movement in independence from 'the corporate grid' and make the switch to alternative and clean energies when possible. The sooner the better, if not for your pocketbook then for the planet.


Clean Energy Canada: Tracking the Energy Revolution. 2015.

Renewable Energy World. 2015.

REthinking Energy. International Renewable Energy Agency. 2015.


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