Thursday, 15 February 2018 06:42

APEX seminar: providing needed supports for renewable energy, clean technology businesses

Written by  Jamie Rieger
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Ryan Castle, account manage for BDC spoke about a $700-million investment from the federal government and BDC for renewable energy/clean technology businesses. Ryan Castle, account manage for BDC spoke about a $700-million investment from the federal government and BDC for renewable energy/clean technology businesses. Jamie Rieger

It was an opportunity for business leaders with an interest in renewable energy to connect with organizations focused on assisting businesses and entrepreneurs with innovations and projects related to the renewable energy industry.

APEX hosted the Funding and Supports for Clean Technology Entrepreneurs seminar at the Medicine Hat College on Feb. 13.
More than 40 people took advantage of the opportunity and registered for the event that included a presentation from Sandra Moore, project consultant for SEEDS (Southeast Alberta Energy Diversification Strategy), Ryan Castle, account manager for the Business Development of Canada, and Daygan Fowler, environmental sustainability officer for the City of Medicine Hat.
In her opening remarks to the attendees, Theresa Hardiker, executive director for the Economic Development Alliance of Southeast Alberta said, "Seeds are being planted for renewable energy and will help diversify southeast Alberta’s economy."
Moore, whose role it is to address the impacts of the renewable energy industry on rural communities, is interested in how the many proposed projects for the region would work for the communities from a socio-economic perspective. She provided data provided by associations focused on renewable energy.
Using CanSIA (Canadian Solar Industries Association) and CanWEA (Canadian Wind Energy Association) estimates, over the next two years, these 35 projects has the potential to bring in $7.8 billion in investment, create 10,875 temporary construction jobs and 397 permanent operations and maintenance jobs, provide $580 million in lease payments to landowners, and $765 million in property tax revenue for southeast Alberta municipalities.
"Our solar and wind resources in southeast Alberta are some of the best in Canada. Southeast Alberta and southwest Saskatchewan is bull's eye for wind and solar resources," she said.
At the end of 2016, there were 85 proposed solar (33) and wind (52) projects over 1 MW on the AESO connection project list. Thirty-seven percent of the proposed wind projects and 48 percent of proposed solar projects are located in southeast Alberta.
Moore also indicated that in the coming months, SEEDS would be releasing a series of reports relating to renewables in the region.
"Over next four months will be releasing four different reports; industry, workforce (expanding on industry report), innovation and supply chain report, and strategies moving forward (ties all of the other reports together).
Ryan Castle, account manager, Business Development Bank of Canada spoke about BDC and federal government investment in renewable energy/clean technology businesses.
"The BDC is a Crown corporation and periodically, the federal government gives a mandate and provides support for that mandate. In the 2017 budget, they discussed supporting clean technology," said Castle. "About a month ago, it was announced that the federal government, through the BDC, is investing $700 million for the clean tech industry and the reasoning behind this is that Canada has slipped in world competitiveness when it comes to clean technology."
Castle noted that part of the reason for this investment is due to the length of time it can take small companies in this industry to get up and running.
"The runway for these smaller companies is very long; 10 years for some of them, so the banks don't want to deal with them and the other options are limited," he said. "We are supporting those companies that have a proven product and need money for that final push."
RDC has had people across the country working with small businesses and thus far, the response has been vibrant.
"The team has been on the ground for a couple of months with this and they have been very busy across the country," said Castle, who is encouraged by the potential in southern Alberta. "There is a lot of energy knowledge in this area and we will support them as they diversify to renewable/clean technology. We want to support their innovation. The smaller companies are quicker and more agile when it comes to cleaner technology for storage, generation, and water conservation and purification."
Anybody seeking further information can contact Castle at 403-529-1521.
Daygan Fowler, environmental sustainability officer, Utilities Business Support for the City of Medicine Hat also provided information on the City's Hat Smart program and rebate incentives.

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