We are on the verge of a profound shift in the way we produce and use energy.
The popularity of renewable energy is already exploding as millions of people around the world use it to generate electricity, to heat and cool buildings and to produce a variety of cleaner vehicle fuels.
Wind and solar are the fastest growing sources of energy in the world. These low-polluting energy industries are creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs in countries as diverse as Germany and China. In fact, the renewable-energy sector generates more jobs per megawatt of power installed, per unit of energy produced, and per dollar of investment than the fossil fuel-based sector.
Canada, the second largest country in the world by area, is richly endowed with renewable energy, including wind, solar, hydro, biomass, geothermal and marine (e.g. tidal, wave energy) sources. With the right policies, Canada can use renewable energy to satisfy its energy needs and become a world leader in sustainable technologies.
Past energy revolutions—from wood to coal, and from coal to oil and gas—have brought an explosion of new profits, productivity and improvements in human health. Investing in new clean-energy sources can make us wealthier and healthier, too.
• In 2012, $244 billion was invested in renewable energy (excluding large hydro) around the world. This includes investments in new capacity, research and development, and manufacturing.
• Wind power is the largest component of renewable generation capacity. Global installed capacity has grown ninefold over the past ten years. An estimated $80.3 billion was invested in wind power worldwide in 2012.
• Energy efficiency has great economic growth potential; investments in efficiency create four times as many jobs as equivalent investments in conventional energy production.
Clean, sustainable energy does more than just reduce the risk of climate change. It brings jobs, investment income and a competitive edge.