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CTC #45 - 🌤️ Alberta pulls the plug on renewables
Plus- Climate tech hits the seas with funding for plant-based sushi, electric boats and ocean monitoring.
It’s been a spicy week for energy policy in Canada - Alberta paused all renewable energy development for seven months and the feds launched their vision for a net-zero grid (with some strings attached).
Elsewhere this week, General Fusion raised a Series F round in its pursuit of zero-emission fusion energy. And we have a bevy of funding for sustainable oceans: Konscious Foods raised a $26M seed round for plant-based sushi while the feds back electric boats and environmental ocean monitoring in Nova Scotia. Let’s go!
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⚛️ General Fusion (Vancouver, BC) closed $33.5M in a Series F round for its nuclear fusion technology, led by existing investors BDC Capital, the BC government, and sovereign wealth fund GIC. General Fusion is developing machines that can generate electricity through nuclear fusion while producing zero carbon emissions or nuclear waste. The raise is part of a pivot to focus development efforts in Canada instead of a planned demonstration plant in the UK.
🍣 Konscious Foods (Vancouver, BC) raised $26M in seed funding for its line of plant-based seafoods including sushi rolls and poke bowls. Konscious was founded by Yves Potvin, who also established mainstay plant-based brands Yves Veggie Cuisine and Gardein. The funding will be used to grow retail and food service businesses, support production, and marketing.
🌊 Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency provided funding to two sustainable, ocean-based companies:
ABCO received over $500K to develop a demonstration hybrid vessel, laying the ground to develop new models of electric boats
Dartmouth Ocean Technologies received $210K to bring its environmental sensors and environmental DNA samplers to market for biodiversity monitoring, offshore energy and more.
Montreal’s Blaise Transit launched its first on-demand transit projects in the US.
Viridis, based in St. John’s, won the Genesis accelerator pitch showcase for its solar-powered freight trucks systems.
Friendlier’s reusable food service containers will soon be available at the Toronto Zoo through a partnership with Compass Group.
🌎 In the news
⚡️ Net-zero or bust: The federal government released its vision for a net-zero grid by 2035. The full set of rules are expected next year after consultations. The feds will focus on regulations in their jurisdiction, cross-industry policy, financial backing and incentives, and convening & coordinating efforts across all levels of government. Provinces may need to sign on to the net-zero commitment in order to access billions in clean energy tax credits for everything from hydrogen to carbon capture to energy generation projects. Alberta’s energy minister described the move as a “threat”.
🌤️ No renewables for you: Alberta suspended approvals for new renewable energy projects until February 2024. The government cited concerns including land use competition with agriculture, waste handling at end of life, and effects on scenery. The impact? 15 projects worth an estimated $3.7B and 4,500 jobs are paused. Alberta’s renewables sector has been surging, generating 17% of energy in the province and outpacing the 15% target.
Alberta’s situation is unique for two reasons. One, it has an open energy market where producers sell their energy at market prices. This should make the market agnostic to what kind of energy is being produced or its reliability. Two, it’s a double standard for energy producers with the oil & gas industry facing no such pause despite an estimated $100B in abandoned oil well liabilities.
Environmental and industry groups called on Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland to speed up guarantees for carbon pricing revenue to get projects online ASAP.
Just over half of Canadians think carbon pricing is not effective at combating climate change.
Federally-backed climate tech businesses performed better than their peers, with higher growth, R&D investments, and higher-value exports according to StatsCan.
Zero-emission vehicle sales dipped slightly in Q1 2023, making up 8.6% of sales. Battery pickup truck sales increased by 30%
Manitoba is gunning to be a key player in critical mineral mining and refining, with a new strategy report outlining the province’s ambition for the sector.
Manitoba will also be home to a $3B solar manufacturing facility from Germany’s RCT Solutions, producing up to 10GW of panels / yr and employing 8,000 workers.
New Brunswick announced $2M in new funding for its Climate Impact Fund aimed at supporting climate tech ventures in the province.
NextStar, the joint battery venture between Stellantis and LG, will send its first 130 hires to Europe and Asia to bring battery best practices to its Ontario gigafactory.
European battery manufacturer Automotive Cells Co. is considering Quebec for its new battery plant in North America.
British Columbia invested $5M to support R&D for zero-emission vehicles in the province.
Ontario is proposing new “heat stress” regulations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, a response to increasing heat waves and extreme weather.
☕️ Here & there
Why this carbon capture startup is dying the Bedford Basin pink
Scientists achieved fusion ignition for the second time, a milestone for abundant clean energy
Calgary climate tech firms are finding big business in US
How heat pumps are winning over Canadians across the country
Visit our job board to see newly posted roles at some of Canada’s most innovative companies like RideCo (on-demand transit), Planetary (carbon capture) and Wyvern (satellite monitoring). Find your next role today:
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