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Report indicates growth in British Columbia’s cleantech sector

Sector revenue was $2.4 billion in 2019

A report issued by KPMG shows the cleantech sector in B.C. is growing by leaps and bounds.

The BC Cleantech 2019 Status Report, released in February 2020, was produced in collaboration with the BC Cleantech CEO Alliance. The report provides a perspective on the size, health and impact of the cleantech sector in the province and draws comparisons with the previous Cleantech Status Report, released in 2016.

The 2019 report found revenue in the sector jumped to $2.4 billion in 2019, up from $1.8 billion in 2016. B.C. companies in this sector have raised more than $7 billion in investment, an increase of nearly $3 billion from 2016.

The report shows the B.C. sector is diversified across a wide range of markets, with oil and natural gas companies looking to improve environmental performance as the cleantech sector’s third-largest customer (after power generation and transportation). This diversity not only reflects the breadth and depth of the sector but also the scale of the global market for cleantech, which is now estimated at more than $3 trillion.

In addition, the report estimates the ‘pure play’ cleantech sector alone (companies that generate new intellectual property, business models or service offerings) employs 16,300 people, and 87 per cent of respondents expect to hire more staff. The number of companies in the sector grew from 273 in 2016 to 293 currently.

Another finding: government support for cleantech research and deployment is crucial to the sector’s success, and ultimately to the development and adoption of technologies that help reduce environmental impacts. The sector ranks scientific research and experimental development (SR&ED) tax credits and Industrial Research Assistance Program funding as beneficial government initiatives. In addition, a third of respondents identified grants for demonstration projects as key to accelerating the cleantech industry, while a quarter identified low interest, flexible debt financing for scaling-up commercial operations as beneficial.