• Steam rising from the Nesjavellir Geothermal Power Station in Iceland. (Photo: Gretar Ívarsson)

Across Canada, there’s a focus on, and investment in, energy efficient activities. Here’s what’s been in the headlines lately: 

Quebec electric vehicle company gets $185 million for battery plant

A Montreal-based company is building a lithium-ion battery assembly plant thanks to $185 million from the federal and provincial governments. The projecxt is expected to add about 135 jobs and produce 14,000 batteries a year once complete (currently estimated for 2023). 

The company, Lion Electric, already has its name on zero-emission transit buses — a vehicle the federal government has committed to purchasing 5,000 of during the next five years. There are already about 300 Lion vehicles on the road. 

The Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association says electric vehicles currently account for three per cent of new car sales, but are expected to be the majority by 2035. 

Geothermal energy being explored in Yukon

The Yukon government has received $2 million in funding from the federal government to explore the potential of geothermal energy (see sidebar) as a long-term source of renewable energy for communities currently powered primarily by diesel. 

The project involves Kluane First Nation, Liard First Nation and Teslin Tlingit Council. The regional assessment will fund two temperature-gradient wells and support exploratory work along two additional faults to identify suitable geothermal sites. 

Clarke Lake, B.C., to be home to one of the first commercially-viable geothermal electricity production facilities in Canada

Nearly $40.5 million has been announced to fund the Indigenous-owned and led Clarke Lake Geothermal Development Project. In the existing Clarke Lake gas field in B.C., the project will use mid-grade geothermal heat resources to reduce emissions by displacing fossil fuels. 

Electricity generation is the planned primary source of revenue, but the opportunity to sell waste heat exists as well — which could then be used to power local industries such as forestry and greenhouse food production. 

The project is being led by the Fort Nelson First Nation and the Saulteau First Nation and is what Marc Miller, federal Minister of Indigenous Services, calls a “impressive initiative.” 

Biogas facility to open in Richmond, B.C. 

Poop power to the rescue? The Lulu Island Wastewater Treatment Plant in Richmond is designed to take what we flush and add the methane gas it produces to the existing natural gas power infrastructure. 

The facility will produce enough power to heat more than 600 homes a year and the plan is to have it make up 15 per cent of its overall natural gas supply by 2030. 

Cross-country green energy deal signed

Canada and Germany have signed an agreement to team up on green energy innovation, focussing particularly on hydrogen. The plan outlines cooperation on both policy and research. 

While both countries have set net-zero emissions goals for 2050, Germany’s focus is on liquefied natural gas as a stepping-stone to green energy,while  Canada has focused recently on “blue hydrogen,” which is derived from natural gas or fossil fuels and coupled with carbon-capture technology.