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Report finds Canada's clean energy sector outpaced national job growth 2010-2017

Employment in Canada's clean energy sector outpaced growth in the larger economy between 2010 and 2017, a study by environmental think tank Clean Energy Canada has found.

Research conducted by consultant Navius Research for the Vancouver, British Columbia-based organization found growth in the green energy sector was 4.8% annually over the measured period, compared with 3.6% in Canada's overall economy. Investment in clean technology and infrastructure rose to C$35.3 billion from C$21 billion in 2010, an increase of 68%. Employment in clean energy-related fields was about 298,000 at the end of 2017, a 2.2% annual increase over the span of the study, and stronger than the 1.4% annual job growth rate across the Canadian economy.

Navius measured increases in the energy-supply sector, which includes power producers and transmission infrastructure companies, and the demand sector, which covered energy consumption-reduction technologies and the transportation sector. The largest portion of the investments, totaling C$69.5 billion, were in Quebec, where government-owned Hydro-Québec, at C$18 billion split between hydro and wind resources; and in Ontario, Canada's most populous province, with C$17.4 billion split among wind, solar and nuclear resources as part of an ambitious shift to less-polluting power after it shuttered coal-fired generators owned by Ontario Power Generation Inc.

"This report highlights how much more there is to our energy sector than what we typically hear about in the news," Merran Smith, executive director of Clean Energy Canada, said in an email. "When you consider both the clean energy sector's size and its impressive growth, it's clear a great story that's been playing out in our country over the last decade has been going untold."

Hydroelectricity is the largest source of power used in Canada, accounting for about 59% of total generation in 2016, according to government statistics. Non-hydro renewables accounted for 7% and nuclear energy provided 15% of the total. The span of the research covered large hydro and related transmission projects that were underway by government-owned utilities including BC Hydro and Power Authority, Nalcor Energy and Manitoba Hydro.