Two new economic studies project the potential for growth in the clean energy sector to 2030 in Canada and in Nova Scotia.
On October 3, Vancouver-based Clean Energy Canada announced its new report, The Fast Lane , which predicts that “ Canada’s clean energy sector will employ 559,400 Canadians by 2030—in jobs like insulating homes, manufacturing electric buses, or maintaining wind farms. And while 50,000 jobs are likely to be lost in fossil fuels over the next decade, just over 160,000 will be created in clean energy—a net increase of 110,000 new energy jobs in Canada.” That translates into a job growth rate of 3.4% a year for clean energy from 2020, compared to an overall job growth rate of 0.9% for Canada as a whole and a decline of 0.5% a year for the fossil fuel sector.
Navius Research conducted the economic modelling underlying The Fast Lane, as well as a May 2019 Clean Energy Canada report, Missing the Bigger Picture , which reports on clean energy investment and jobs from 2010 to 2017. The more detailed economic modelling reports by Navius are available as Quantifying Canada’s Clean Energy Economy: A forecast of clean energy investment, value added and jobs , and Quantifying Canada’s Clean Energy Economy: An assessment of clean energy investment, value added and jobs (May).
The message for policy-makers is made clear in the introduction to The Fast Lane by Merran Smith, Executive Director of Clean Energy Canada: “The sector’s projected growth is modelled on policy measures either in place or announced in early 2019 at both federal and provincial levels. If climate measures are eliminated—as we’ve recently seen in Alberta and Ontario—our emissions will go up and Canadians working in clean energy could lose jobs.”
An article in The Energy Mix summarizes The Fast Lane . It quotes Lliam Hildebrand, Executive Director of Iron and Earth , a worker-led non-profit which promotes upskilling and retraining for fossil fuel workers: “It’s really important for people to know that most fossil fuel industry workers are really proud of their trades skills and would be excited—and are excited—about the opportunity to apply those skills to building a sustainable energy future …. But they need support in making that transition.”
A similar message comes through in “After oil and gas: Meet Alberta workers making the switch to solar” , an article in The Narwhal which profiles three workers who have transitioned from jobs in the fossil fuel industry. The article also summarizes the policy environment in Alberta, where according to Statistics Canada, roughly 1 in every 16 workers in Alberta is employed in the category described as “forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas.” The Narwhal quotes Rod Wood, national representative from Unifor, who states that the global energy transition “is going to happen in spite of Alberta…You’re either part of the conversation or you’re lunch. It’s just going to steamroll over you.” And Mark Rowlinson of the United Steelworkers Union and BlueGreen Alliance Canada states: “ The market tends to move with its own feet. If the market sees that the future of the fossil fuel industry is not looking great, it will move quickly… And it will move without a plan. That means there will be wreckage left behind it, and that’s what we need to try to avoid.”
Clean economy policies could bring 180,000 jobs to Nova Scotia by 2030:
Nova Scotia’s Ecology Action Centre submitted what it calls a “Green Jobs Report” to the province’s consultation on its proposed Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act, just ended on September 27. EAC proposed six policy choices, including supplying 90% of the province’s electricity from renewables by 2030, with a summary here. A detailed report, Nova Scotia Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act: Economic Costs and Benefits for Proposed Goals was prepared by economic consultants Gardner Pinfold and estimates the benefits of each proposal, with the conclusion that the proposed policies could create over 15,000 green jobs per year in Nova Scotia, for a total of just less than 180,000 job-years between now and 2030.