BC emerging as a clean-tech leader



A series of clean-tech and energy announcements during the first week of the Olympic Games in Vancouver were the opening salvo of a two-year marketing campaign to promote British Columbia as a world centre of excellence for renewable energy and environmental technology.

Clean-tech sector executives, the Independent Power Producers Association of B.C., and the BC Technology Association are part of a CleanWorks BC collaboration formed last year as a vehicle to promote British Columbia's clean technology and services sectors - believed to be the third largest.

Additional support has been provided by the province, the Vancouver Economic Development Commission and the University of B.C.

In announcing the CleanWorks BC Initiative, Premier Gordon Campbell noted 'British Columbia is growing as a global hub for clean-energy research and investment. As the world searches for cleaner ways of producing energy, these kinds of investments help position B.C. to meet that supply and, at the same time, generate new growth and jobs here in our province.' (See GLOBE-net article 'Clean Energy Investments to Power BC's Future.')

Soon to be released research by the GLOBE Foundation notes that companies operating in British Columbia's low-carbon economy reported revenues in excess of $18.3 billion in 2008. The province's green economy contributes roughly 10.2 per cent of total provincial GDP and accounts for 165,690 direct and indirect full-time equivalent green jobs (2008) - equivalent to 7.2 per cent of British Columbia's total employment.

CleanWorks representative Jonathan Rhone, president and CEO of Nexterra Energy, quoted in a Vancouver Sun article noted B.C. companies are competing in a global market for investment funds, so an over-arching identity will benefit all of them. 'We realized that all of the sectors within British Columbia that are working on clean energy, whether it's the universities or the city, or the clean-tech community or the power generators, need to collaborate on getting the message out,' Rhone said.

Three high profile clean-energy projects were announced this week including a report from venture capital firm Chrysalix Energy that its most recent energy investment fund has topped $100 million and will reach $150 million by March 31.

Other projects announced were a 10-year partnership deal between energy multinational GDF Suez and Pacific BioEnergy to undertake a $24-million expansion of Pacific's wood-pellet manufacturing plant in Prince George; and the University of British Columbia announcement of the world's first biomass-fuelled heat and energy system using technology developed by Nexterra Systems in partnership with GE Energy. (See GLOBE-Net article for further details)

General Electric has been a prominent sponsor of the 2010 Olympics and used the window of the first week of the celebrations to announce two clean power deals in the province.

GE has joined forces with Vancouver-based Plutonic Power to build the 196-megawatt Toba Montrose hydro project and the Dokie Wind Project, near Fort St. John in northeastern B.C. (See GLOBE-Net article.)

Notes the Globe and Mail, GE is capitalizing on British Columbia's plans to generate 90 per cent of its electricity from renewable power by 2016, a goal that will require massive spending on generating gear, which GE manufactures, and massive infusions of capital, which GE supplies.

Further clean energy related announcements are expected over the next two weeks as British Columbia shoots for gold with the 2010 Games and in the global marketplace for clean energy and environmental goods and services.

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