Is Canada Investing Enough On Green Fuel Practices?


For the purpose of this article, ‘green fuels’ is defined as alternatives to fossil fuel that does less health and environmental harm than traditional sources. Using oil, coal, and natural gas as the baseline, what is Canada doing to encourage the innovation, production, and adoption of more green fuel options? Is it enough?

There are currently five federal programs that are intended to support these initiatives. Two of the programs currently have clear active participants, two of them appear to be inactive, and the final one is a partnership among 13 federal departments. Let’s look at the first two programs’ goals, funding, and participants to discuss if Canada is prioritizing funding adequately.

Program 1

Clean Energy Innovation

Promote clean and renewable resources (like methane and volatile organic compound emission reduction) to support Canada’s sustainable economic health.

$25 million over two years.

Environmental Monitoring of Tidal Energy Technology

Project goal:
To uncover uncertainties regarding tidal energy in Canada in order to increase investment by lowering risk. Research is hoping to uncover gaps in knowledge like the impact of tidal energy on the environment (eg. turbine effects on marine life).

Project funding:
Up to $1 million

Project progress:
An interim progress report suggests that there are no environmental effects of tidal turbine in the Bay of Fundy. The project is waiting until all the data comes in before making strong conclusions or recommendations. Assuming this projection is accurate, tidal energy technology could be a more attractive investment to consider.

Program 1 total spend:
Up to $1 million/$25 million

Program 2

Oil and Gas Clean Tech Program

Help sustain Canada’s hydrocarbon resources by supporting the development of clean oil and gas technologies.

$50 million over two years.

Carbon Conversion Technology CentreClean Seas FEED ProjectEnhanced Modified VAPour EXtraction R&D OperationSolvent Driven Process

Carbon Conversion Technology Centre is receiving a large portion of the federal grant allowance and therefore we will examine its components.

Project goal:
To reduce the costs of managing CO2 and CO2 emissions by incorporating an industrial-level technology that can test CO2’s utility and redirect to positive consumption.   

Project funding:
Up to $9.8 million

Project progress:
The project’s expected outcomes are to reduce the greenhouse gas impacts of key Canadian emitters through an economically enticing solution. The project is an effort of many partners, but InnoTech Alberta sits at the helm. These successful projects from InnoTech provide confidence in this project’s positive outcomes.

Program 2 total spend:
Up to $21.85 million/$50 million

Other Programs

Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Demonstrations

The program’s goal is to support the development of electric vehicles in Canada. The overall funding budget is available up to $46.1 million. There are two projects running under this program, the Demonstration of new generation integrated smart infrastructures for charging electric vehicles and Enhanced Charging Infrastructure Via Vehicle-Side Data. Collectively, their budget allowance is up to $10 million.

Oil Spill Response Science

This program’s goal is intended to help support the Government of Canada’s Oceans Protection Plan. Currently, there aren’t any projects that are receiving any of the $5 million budget.

Program of Energy Research and Development

This program is operated by Natural Resources Canada and is executed by 13 federal departments of Canada. The intention of the program is to support energy solutions to ensure sustainability in Canada’s economical and environment environments. Information about this program is not clearly nor readily defined.

Overall discussion

The projects that are currently being funded by Canada’s green fuel initiatives seem to have a similar theme of economic, health, and environmental sustainability. The active projects seem to be driving towards positive impacts. However, there are not many projects that are currently active. Canada may be budgeting to support some development in green fuel options, but the fulfillment is lacking. Perhaps there is not enough incentivization, communication, or ease in implementing these grants.

Overall tally of budget spend:
Up to $32.95 million/$126.1 million

Adrian Dion