Canada announces clean energy projects

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced Friday 82 million Canadian dollars in funding for 55 new clean-energy projects, ranging from electric vehicles to wind power.

“The Canadian economy is based in large part on the abundance of our natural resources,” said Harper, who explained that Canada needs to develop those resources to both maintain the country’s economic strength and to “meet the challenges of what still remains a very fragile global economy.”

He added that Canadians have a duty “to ourselves and to future generations to develop those resources in a way that is responsible and respects the environment.”

The Prime Minister made the announcement in Quebec City where he toured a company that received 4.7 million dollars to develop an enzyme-based approach for low-cost carbon dioxide capture from industrial effluent emissions in the oil sands of the resource- rich Canadian province of Alberta.

Of the 55 projects that are part of the Canadian government’s ecoENERGY Innovation Initiative and which are spread across seven provinces and two territories, 15 will be pre-commercialization demonstration projects to test the feasibility of various technologies.

One, in Toronto that received the highest level of funding at 5. 3 million dollars, is intended to develop a smart grid software- hardware platform to manage electricity generation, storage and resource demand at the distribution level and will be demonstrated on Toronto Hydro’s distribution grid.

The other 40 projects are meant to focus on research and development to address, as a news release from the Prime Minister’ s Office explained, “knowledge gaps and bring technologies from the conceptual stage to the ready-to-be-tested stage of development.”

The projects will focus on research in energy efficiency; clean electricity and renewables; bioenergy; electrification of transportation; and “unconventional” oil and gas.

Introduced in the 2011 federal budget, the ecoENERGY Innovation Initiative has received 268 million dollars in funding to support research, development and demonstration projects that produce and use cleaner and more efficient energy.

According to Harper’s office, the Canadian government has invested more than 10 billion dollars in green infrastructure, energy efficiency, clean-energy technologies, and the production of cleaner energy and fuels since his Conservative Party came to power in 2006.