New technologies show potential for renewable energy job growth in Canada

New technologies show potential for renewable energy job growth in Canada
Posted on October 13, 2020 | National Observer | Written on October 13, 2020
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There is lots of opportunity for Canada to secure good, high-paying domestic jobs in renewable energy by focusing on more cutting-edge technologies and bringing them to growing markets, the head of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada says.

Stewart Beck is the Vancouver-based foundation’s president and CEO and also a former diplomat who served as the high commissioner to India and consul general in Shanghai. He said Canada can create new types of jobs in the sector by capitalizing on homegrown research in less-developed areas, such as hydrogen fuel cells, biofuels or marine energy.

“It’s finding the right partners and then being able to build that ability to take the technologies and bring them into a market that is growing rapidly. That scale is going to have an impact on the work that’s going to be done here,” Beck said in an interview.

Recent figures from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) show that the majority of employment in renewable energy is in Asian countries, which accounted for 63 per cent of all renewables jobs in 2019. These jobs are heavily concentrated in manufacturing centres like China, which represents 4.3 million of the world’s 11.5 million jobs in renewables.

China accounted for 93 per cent of global production of wafers, the semiconductor slices that go into a solar cell, IRENA said. Chinese manufacturers have overcome a domestic slowdown of solar panel installations by ramping up exports to overseas markets, according to the agency.

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