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The Pembina Institute think tank has issued a report on the opportunities and challenges facing Canada in the global transition to clean energy — a market set to grow to $3 trillion by 2020. Competing in Clean EnergyCapitalizing on Canadian innovation in a $3 trillion economy concludes that federal policy and access to capital are the major barriers to the success of Canada’s clean energy industry, which now has only 1% of the world market.

According to Pembina: “With more than 700 companies, Canada’s cleantech sector grew job numbers by 11 per cent and invested almost $2 billion in research and development between 2008 and 2010.

Yet venture capital investment, especially from large institutional investors, is declining: from about $3.3 billion in 2000 to less than $1 billion in 2012. And Canadian companies have landed only two per cent of clean energy patents granted in the U.S. since 2002, compared to Korea’s five per cent, Germany’s seven per cent, and Japan’s 26 per cent.

The advice of nearly two dozen Canadian clean energy thought leaders on overcoming current obstacles is remarkably consistent, and includes:

  • Bridging capital gaps with federal financial tools;
  • Ongoing support for Sustainable Development Technology Canada;
  • Accelerating efforts to phase out remaining federal fossil fuel subsidies;
  • And a federal approach to pricing greenhouse gas pollution.”

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