CTC #34 - IPCC, meet Budget 2023
Plus: $240M for biochar and semiconductors, Volkswagen grows in Ontario
Welcome to another issue of Climate Tech Canada! Spring is finally here, along with an extra hour of sunlight in the evening, and let me tell you - I am stoked. This week’s issue features more than $240M in funding secured across biocoal, semiconductors and battery systems, plus a monster $136M grant for Eavor geothermal from the EU.
In the news, the IPCC released it’s latest report, B.C. introduced a new energy framework to guide LNG projects towards net-zero, Volkswagen selected Ontario for its new gigafactory for EV batteries, and Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse sent shockwaves through the banking system.
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IPCC, meet Budget 2023
The IPCC released its latest report, calling out the next ten years as a critical window to reduce warming and the need to accelerate the phase out of fossil fuels. This thread from one of the report authors has a great summary. Some of my main takeaways:
We’re on track to hit 2.2 degrees with our current policy choices
We’re likely to cross a warming threshold in the next 10 years
Every scenario where we reach net-zero requires an accelerated phase-out of fossil fuels and a phase-in of energy efficiency and renewables
The upshot - the actions we’ve taken so far are making an impact, resulting in measurable changes in the trajectory of emissions. They’re still growing, but not as much.
The focus on ramping down fossil fuels in the report is also notable as the federal government gets ready to release their budget for 2023 next month. It’s an opportunity for the government to respond to the Inflation Reduction Act and signal their ambition on climate.
It may also include additional supports for Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage (CCUS) which the oil & gas industry has been loudly advocating for over the past several months. However, not only are there already incentives in place for CCUS that may match those offered in the US, but further investment in the projects seems to fly in the face of the IPCCs stark warnings.
Airex Energy (Laval, QC) secured $38M in Series B funding for its biochar, biocarbon and biocoal solutions. Airex repurposes forestry and sawmill byproducts into biochar products that can replace conventional fossil fuels and sequester carbon. The funding will be used to expand Airex’s production and open a new plant in Quebec.
Spark Microsystems (Montreal, QC) closed $34M in Series B financing. Spark Microsystems produces energy-efficient semiconductors, particularly for short-wave wireless applications. It’s a turbulent time for the semiconductor industry, and Spark’s recent funding will help meet customer demand, accelerate customer acquisition and product development for smart sensors.
Zen Electric (Dartmouth, NC) raised $1.25M to support their pivot from electric bikes to commercialize their battery systems. Zen Electric has developed batteries that last four times longer, particularly in hot climates. The funding comes from Nigeria’s North South Power utility as Zen Electric looks to expand in South Asia and Africa.
SpryPoint (Charlottetown, PEI) secured a strategic investment from private equity firm Norwest for an undisclosed amount. SpryPoint provides software for the utility industry to enable more responsive operations.
Silfab Solar (Mississauga, ON) raised $171.5M in funding from ARC Financial, the second round of funding from ARC. The funding will enable Silfab to expand domestic manufacturing of photovoltaic cells and modules, and open a third production facility.
Eavor (Calgary, AB) received a $136M grant from the European Innovation Fund to support Eavor’s geothermal project underway in Germany. The project is the first commercial implementation of Eavor’s closed loop geothermal technology.
Milestones & Growth
Ivy launched a new monthly subscription offering, Ivy Home, that bundles a Level 2 smart home charger with access to Ivy’s public charging network.
Oneka announced a new project to scale up its wave-powered desalination technology to produce freshwater, partnering with Canada’s Ocean Supercluster.
Vermont’s Beta Technologies, an electric aircraft company, opened an engineering hub in Montreal with 50 employees and plans to grow further this year.
TECHÉOL, a technical services provider for wind farms based in Sayabec, Quebec, received $400K from the federal government to purchase equipment and expand into Ontario and Alberta
🌎 In The News
Silicon Valley Bank collapsed after a bank run sparked by poor risk managements and communication about its financial position. SBV was an important player for climate tech in the U.S., backing ventures that traditional banks were less receptive to like deep tech or smaller scale solar projects.
SBV’s Canadian branch was fairly small, with with $435M in loans on the books at the end of 2022. Of all the funding events I’ve tracked over the past year, ~3 companies received venture debt from SBV for between $3M - $7M USD each. The Canadian branch is now being wound down by Canada’s banking regulator.
The U.S. government has since announced it will guarantee all deposits in the bank, mitigating short term impacts, but the ripples continue as other banks come under scrutiny. Some in Canada’s tech ecosystem are calling on the feds to help stabilize the system by injecting $700M of capital through existing programs and guaranteeing loans through EDC.
Biden visits Ottawa this week, where talks will focus on “how we can tackle clean economic growth together in this particular global environment,” including critical minerals, EVs, and protecting natural spaces according to government officials.
St. Thomas, Ontario will be the new home for Volkswagen’s battery cell “gigafactory”. It’s the first Volkswagen plant outside Europe and is the largest single investment in Ontario’s auto sector.
B.C. introduced a new energy framework to ensure fossil fuel projects fit within the provinces’ climate targets. The plan will require all proposed LNG facilities to have a plan to meet net-zero by 2030.
The federal government and Saskatchewan announced $485M in funding through the new Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership, with $175M for agtech R&D and $53.4M to address climate change and resiliency.
Quebec’s 2023 Budget announced several climate measures, including an additional $1.4 billion for its 2030 Plan for a Green Economy. The budget calls out freshwater protection, protecting biodiversity and promoting the adoption of sustainable practices as priority areas.
Quebec also announced $60M to add 367 new charging stations across the province, expanding the provincial network by 30%.
Écotech Québec received $1.2M from the federal government to support the development and adoption of climate tech in the province. Écotech Québec brings together the clean tech ecosystem in Quebec, and is developing a decision‑making platform to help organizations adopt low-carbon tech.
New Brunswick also introduced its budget for 2023, which includes $10 for energy efficiency programs and $1.7M in contributions for the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership.
Michelin Tires will invest $300M to upgrade its Nova Scotia plants to produce more energy efficient tires, tires designed specifically for EVs, and to electrify its operations.
Newfoundland & Labrador’s Muskrat Falls hydroelectric dam is facing new setbacks, due to a bug in the software that runs a subsea cable stretching across the Strait of Belle Isle. The project started in 2012.
📢 What’s going on
📅 ONEIA’s Business + Policy Forum. Hosted by the Ontario Environment Indsutrry Association, the forum brings together climate tech execs, policy makers, and investment leaders. This year’s event focused on “keeping Ontario competitive on the path to Net Zero”. Expect to hear from execs at Li-Cycle and Stormfisher. April 4th in Toronto.
Check out our job board to see open roles at some of Canada’s most innovative companies working on battery systems, AI-optimized grids, electric vehicles, and more!
⚡️Business Development Manager at Peak Power (Remote)
🐟 Director, Strategic Finance at New School Foods (Toronto, ON)
Have a role you’d like to promote? Drop me a line on Twitter
That’s all for this week. Thanks for reading and if you’re enjoying the newsletter, share it with a friend!
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