Since EnergeiaWorks serves both the US and Canadian markets, and because our staff is split between both countries, I often reserve a Recruiter's Outlook or two for Canadian conversation. With Electricity Transformation Canada (ETC) coming up next month in Calgary, now feels like the right time to focus on my northern neighbor.
When it comes to creating obstacles for an industry, the United States has shown some great examples over the last decade. We've let the Investment Tax Credit and Production Tax Credit lapse, we've battled multiple times with supply chain shortages and oversupplies, and now we're knee-deep in a transmission and interconnection skirmish. So, it looks like Canada is learning well from us.
Let's turn back the clock to 2009. The ink was still drying on the US Investment Tax Credit, so the Ontario Government decided to launch their own incentive, the Feed-In-Tariff (FIT). And for a short period of time, Canada was a global leader in solar projects. In 2010, the Sarnia Solar Project, developed and built by First Solar for Enbridge, 'was' the largest solar project in the world.
Fast forward to December 2016, months after EnergeiaWorks expanded into Canada, and the Minister of Energy ceased accepting applications into the FIT program. Overnight, Canada went from 1,800MW of installed solar capacity to 220MW. I vividly remember attending the first Canadian conference in my career, the CanSIA Solar Canada conference in Toronto that December. Yes, it was cold (at least by my standards)! It also feels pretty cold to attend a trade show when there's such a headwind against the industry — in December 2016, there was zero optimism for solar in Canada. It's not very often that I leave a conference with zero business development leads, but I did that time! After the failure in Ontario, many projects were shifted to Alberta as the Government released the Renewable Electricity Program (REC) in 2017.
After many years of development in adverse conditions, Canada slowly came back to life. The real lifeline was established in 2021 when Ontario launched the Smart Renewables and Electrification Pathways Program (SREP) for energy storage projects and other energy efficiency, power generation, and grid upgrade projects. Concurrently, Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) started releasing RFP's in Alberta for solar generation projects and across greater Canada for other clean energy projects. Slowly and steadily, renewable energy and energy storage projects started to scale up again. And, finally, news broke late last year that Canada (on the heels of the US Inflation Reduction Act) was implementing an Investment Tax Credit.
Well, the forward momentum is now at a stand still — in Alberta anyway. The Alberta Utility Commission (AUC) has put a surprise pause on renewable energy projects over 1MW in size. The Government of Alberta claims this is only affecting 13 projects, but developers are saying the real number is closer to 100. It's hard to say what the AUC will decide here, but if they add additional requirements to the project development process, economic development will be at risk.
Currently, Alberta has 3,400MW of solar and wind projects under construction, which are not affected by the pause, and has the biggest pipeline of utility-scale renewable energy power generation when compared to the other Canadian provinces. 75% of all Canadian investments in renewables happened in Alberta over the past year, and $4B has been invested in the Alberta renewables industry since 2019. In a perfect world, the AUC reviews the development process in February 2024, and Alberta begins construction again once the ground thaws in the spring. Even with this adversity, our Canadian customers remain cautiously optimistic — for now. Hiring renewable energy talent in Canada has not slowed. But we'll get a real-feel next month on the floor at ETC!
Meet EnergeiaWorks at ETC in Calgary
EnergeiaWorks is gearing up to embark on its eighth year attending the Canadian events. In the third year after the merger of CanWEA (wind energy association) and CanSIA (solar industries association), the Canadian Renewable Energy Association (CanREA) is hosting its annual trade show and conference, Electricity Transformation Canada (ETC) in Calgary. RE+ Events has partnered with the event again this year — let's see if they can help pack the floor in Calgary like they did earlier this month in Las Vegas!
Whether Canada has faced clarity or insecurity in the market, EnergeiaWorks has been a mainstay in delivering the best human capital in renewable energy. If you're looking to hire top talent in manufacturing, project development, finance, construction, operations, or energy asset management professionals, reach out to us to schedule a meeting in Calgary during ETC.
Receive a bonus for a referral to our new website
Refer a candidate to EnergeiaWorks and if they get hired, we’ll send you an EnergeiaWorks solar backpack with a $1,000 check. Visit our freshly redesigned website to submit!
Connect with Team EW today
If you are currently exploring a new job in your renewable energy career, we invite you to have a look at our careers portal.
If you're looking to hire top talent in manufacturing, project development, finance, construction, operations, or energy asset management professionals, reach out to us today.