Exports key to building B.C.’s clean-tech sector

Expanding the market for clean technologies developed in B.C. is key to growing the province’s share of one of the global economy’s fastest growing segments.

Expanding the market for clean technologies developed in B.C. is key to growing the province’s share of one of the global economy’s fastest growing segments.

According to a KPMG study on the sector, total clean-tech industry revenue in B.C. has risen to $2.5 billion in 2011 from $1.6 billion in 2008. Exports accounted for 78% of that revenue, the bulk of which went to U.S. buyers.

In a world hungry for energy, much of the technology being developed would have a global market.

One-third of respondents to the KPMG study were focused on new energy generation methods; 17% were focused on new energy transmission and storage technologies. The remainder of the sector focused on energy use and resource management technologies.

The sector remains relatively young, with more than two-thirds of respondents having been formed in the past decade. Just over a third (37%) were formed six to 10 years ago.

Building the clean-tech sector would contribute to the province’s economic growth. The study suggested the industry already employs more than 8,000 people in B.C. and average annual wages in the sector of around $70,000 are well above the provincial average.

Ensuring clean tech receives the necessary funding to foster innovation would be key.

Despite tight fiscal constraints, a plurality of survey respondents said greater government support via better research and development grants and tax credits and early adoption and deployment of commercially viable technologies would benefit the sector the most.

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