Ray Punn, Vice President, Skyline Wealth, recently interviewed Rob Stein, President, Skyline Clean Energy Fund, to discuss the current landscape of clean energy in Canada, our climate actions, mitigations, and some of the trends to expect in 2022. Rob’s leadership has positioned Skyline as one of the Canadian clean energy industry leaders as Skyline Clean Energy Fund continues to invest in clean energy technology and solutions that help Canada reach its carbon emissions reduction targets. He was recently awarded the 2022 Report on Business magazine Changemakers award from Globe and Mail for his contribution to the Canadian clean energy industry.
Ray: Congratulations, Rob, on winning the Globe and Mail Changemaker award. In January, you released a whitepaper report on the state of the clean energy landscape in Canada, which can be found on the Skyline Energy website. What were some of the major findings of the clean energy sector in Canada that you can share with our investors?
Rob: Thank you, Ray. We believe clean energy is the future of the Canadian energy sector, and investors are taking advantage of opportunities in clean energy investing. Within the report, we outlined the guidelines and challenges set out by the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26). These guidelines help set out ways countries can work towards their net-zero goals while also setting the tone to drive the expansion of clean energy in Canada through financial incentives.
The white report details how Canada can go about achieving a net-zero status. The first suggestion is to levy a carbon tax. The concept is to charge a fee for excessive carbon pollution. The tax will serve as a stimulus for businesses to streamline their processes and reduce their carbon footprint.
A suggested financial incentive is green bonds. These bonds charge different interest rates depending on the sustainability of the enterprise. Green bonds are designed to exclusively support and finance climate-related or other types of special environmental projects aimed at energy efficiency, pollution prevention, sustainable ecosystems, clean transportation, and sustainable water management.
The Net-Zero Accelerator program is the most important catalyst in the transition to clean energy in Canada. This program provides up to $8 billion of funding to various enterprises that show innovative projects in the clean energy sector and have initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across Canada.
Ray: These are great initiatives, but the question is, are these initiatives turning into actions? What are the key objectives and goals to look out for in 2022?
Rob: In March 2022, the Government of Canada introduced Canada’s 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan, which outlines pathways Canada can adopt to achieve 40-45% emissions reductions below 2005 levels by 2030.
There are also many other government initiatives to power the growth of clean energy. There is the Greener Homes initiative, which will help to offer home inspections to make homes greener. There is the Green Infrastructure Phase II (GI), which offers managerial and resource support to initiatives focused on creating a better infrastructure. There is the Clean Growth in Natural Resource Sectors Program, which has $155 million of funding for R&D in energy, mining, and forestry.
In Alberta, there is the Climate Leadership Plan. The idea is to phase out coal emissions and power 30% of Alberta’s energy needs via renewable energy by 2030.
There are many global initiatives that seek to reduce the carbon footprint of commercial activities. There is an initiative to create more electronic vehicle (EV) powering stations across all cities in Canada; this would allow the massive adoption of EV cars in the market. Another is The 24/7 Carbon-Free Energy (CFE) Compact initiative, which is powered by energy suppliers, governments, and organizations like Google. The goal of this initiative is to make the electricity grid carbon neutral.
Other promising initiatives are the Federal Internal Energy R&D and the Energy Innovation Program, which seek to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create new carbon-negative or carbon-neutral technologies. We have also seen the formation of the No New Coal coalition, which includes the countries of Sri Lanka, Chile, Denmark, France, Germany, the UK, and Montenegro. They have pledged to stop issuing new permits for unabated coal-based power plants.
Ray: It sounds like we have quite a few programs up and running to mitigate climate change. How did the pandemic affect the clean energy industry?
Rob: The pandemic was a big market disruptor. It impacted how we work, but it also changed our awareness of Environmental Social Governance (ESG) investments and our approach toward clean energy. From 2019 to 2020, investments in oil sands declined from $10 billion to $7 billion in Canada. Overall, the demand for oil and fossil fuels has been falling since the 2019 highs, and it is because of this that we expect massive growth in the clean energy sector jobs.
The rise in the carbon tax will make fossil fuel industries have more costs, and it will push innovation from the clean energy sector. It is projected that by 2030, there will be 208,700 more jobs in the new clean energy sector and only 125,800 jobs in the fossil fuel energy sector.
Ray: That’s definitely a significant improvement. Does the government provide any incentives to encourage and promote jobs in the clean energy sector?
Rob: Sometimes, the government does not have all the necessary resources to make the changes that it wants to see. Therefore, the private sector is important to bring change and innovation to the economy. Such is the case for Alberta and other small companies in Canada that are taking the initiative to fight climate change and create clean technologies.
In Alberta, the local government is creating a $50 million fund that will be accessible to companies that invest in the area with clean technologies. As of right now, 23 projects are funded by such a program. This program is expected to make a change in the climate while opening 1,300 jobs and generating $169 million in the province’s GDP.
In Alberta, the costs of renewable energy are rapidly decreasing, which is powering the creation of startups and businesses that operate in this sector. Solar, wind, and other forms of energy are being optimized, and many startups are capitalizing on this new trend. This is a perfect case where local initiatives can make a big change in the economy and the lives of the citizens.
Ray: That’s a great example you just mentioned. Do you think private sectors play a pivotal role in Canada’s transition to clean energy?
Rob: Definitely. To achieve Canada’s targets for 2030, we will need a collective effort from all the provinces and the private sector. The government, at all levels, can do their part to capitalize upon the economic opportunities arising from climate solutions—from zero-emission vehicles to hydrogen and renewable power. It’s high time Canadian business leaders recognize these opportunities and adopt a more proactive and collaborative approach to seize them.
The government can also give some energy companies room to invest in developing and deploying the technologies needed to fill the final gaps to net zero. The Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) aims to standardize disclosure around climate-related risks and Green House Gas emissions for reporting issuers with mandatory information requirements in annual filings, to be phased in starting in 2023.
Many firms are joining in collaborative networks to share ideas and strategies and sometimes even compete for carbon improvements. When it comes to emissions, we are seeing plenty of activity. A growing number of fleets are moving towards embracing EVs, net-zero buildings, and internal carbon pricing. Some big companies like Air Canada are targeting net-zero for 2050 through the use of carbon capture and other technologies that could generate what it calls sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), which is a huge challenge in the aviation industry.
Globally, umbrella groups like the Consumer Goods Forum, the Climate Group, and the We Mean Business coalition, which hosted a Business Pavilion for Climate Leadership at COP26, continue to develop sustainability criteria to protect the climate, forests, and, naturally, their members’ public image.
Ray: That is wonderful. You mentioned how local companies are helping with the clean energy transitions. Could you elaborate more on how Skyline contributes?
Rob: Skyline is always embracing opportunities to invest in climate action and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) and has hired a consultant to help plan the next steps. Skyline knows that energy-conscious real estate upgrades can generate savings and greater comfort for tenants in its apartment buildings. It has also found that awareness and outreach can invite others to contribute —for example, when it switched some of its buildings to individually metered units, its tenants’ energy use shrunk by almost half. Investments like these are also about building relationships with people.
Tenants are more comfortable in settings that align with their values and lifestyle; with on-site community garden space or EV charger stations, they are more likely to stay. This generally reduces turnover, builds community, and ultimately lowers costs. At Skyline Energy, we’re putting resources into refitting solar PV assets, improving efficiency, and extending the life of certain generating facilities.
Ray: Talking about community involvement, how can people get involved in helping Canada achieve their climate targets?
Rob: To achieve the climate goals and transition into renewable energy, we need to involve the people. People need to be aware of our current climate action goals and how we are keeping up with them, and the importance of switching to cleaner and greener resources. Celebrating Earth Day and taking this opportunity to raise awareness and participate in activities such as tree planting, recycling, and reducing carbon footprint. We can support technologies and industries focused on sustainability and innovations in clean energy. We believe companies should implement ESG practices where possible to help in the transition to a greener society. In return, companies will likely benefit from reduced business costs, innovative strategies, an improved reputation, and more new customers who value sustainability. We at Skyline are taking steps to fight climate change and implement sustainable practices throughout our daily business operations.
Investing in renewable energy is essential to combat global climate change. It also may be a great opportunity to invest in assets that generate consistent returns, while also investing in a better future.
Skyline Clean Energy Fund (SCEF), for example, acquires Canadian clean energy assets backed by government contracts that has generated historically-stable returns for our investors. SCEF is a growth-oriented investment, and our investors have been enjoying a stable annualized return since our inception. Using our decades of experience in the renewable energy industry, we are striving to become Canada’s largest biogas and solar producer.
The journey to clean energy can be very interesting, and we should utilize all our resources to create a better future for the next generations to come.
Ray: Thank you, Rob, for taking the time to share your insights into the clean energy sector and the potential benefits investing in clean energy has to offer. If you want to learn more, visit Skyline Energy to read Rob’s article on 2021 in Review and Future Climate Action. If you’re interested in investing in Canadian clean energy assets, reach out to us or connect with a Skyline Wealth advisor to discuss your investment goals and know how you can invest in this sustainable fund.
 Canada, I. (2022). Net Zero Accelerator Initiative – Strategic Innovation Fund. Ic.gc.ca. Retrieved 4 April 2022, from https://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/125.nsf/eng/00039.html.
 Canada, I. (2022, March 18). Net zero accelerator initiative. Strategic Innovation Fund. Retrieved May 11, 2022, from https://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/125.nsf/eng/00039.html
 Canada, S. (2022, March 29). Government of Canada. Canada.ca. Retrieved May 11, 2022, from https://www.canada.ca/en/services/environment/weather/climatechange/climate-plan/climate-plan-overview/emissions-reduction-2030.html
 Funding, Grants, and Incentives. Nrcan.gc.ca. (2022). Retrieved 4 April 2022, from https://www.nrcan.gc.ca/science-and-data/funding-partnerships/funding-opportunities/funding-grants-incentives/4943.
 Renewable energy in Alberta. Alberta.ca. (2022). Retrieved 4 April 2022, from https://www.alberta.ca/renewable-energy-in-alberta.aspx.
 LIVE: World leaders pledge to power humanity with clean energy. UN News. (2022). Retrieved 4 April 2022, from https://news.un.org/en/story/2021/09/1100712#:~:text=The%20UN%20chief%20outlined%20four,to%20a%20net%20zero%20future.
 Renewable energy in Alberta. Alberta.ca. (2022). Retrieved 4 April 2022, from https://www.alberta.ca/renewable-energy-in-alberta.aspx.
 Alberta government invests $50 million in clean energy projects – Red Deer Advocate. Red Deer Advocate. (2022). Retrieved 4 April 2022, from https://www.reddeeradvocate.com/news/alberta-government-invests-50-million-in-clean-energy-projects/#:~:text=The%20Alberta%20government%20is%20handing,Emissions%20Reduction%20Economic%20Recovery%20Program.
 Burgess, Molly. “Air Canada looks to achieve net-zero targets with Carbon Engineering technology.” Gas World. 10 November, 2021. https://www.gasworld.com/aircanada-looks-to-achieve-net-zero-targets-with-carbon-engineering-technology/2022154.article
About Skyline Clean Energy Fund
Skyline Clean Energy Fund (“SCEF”) is a boutique investment firm offering a shelf of privately owned and managed alternative investment products, specialized in the real estate and clean energy industries.
SCEF is offered as an alternative investment product through Skyline Wealth Management Inc. (“Skyline Wealth”), the exclusive Exempt Market Dealer (EMD) for SCEF.
SCEF is committed to surfacing value to its investors through asset monitoring and optimization, while providing a sustainable investment product based in clean, renewable energy.
To learn more about SCEF and its asset manager, Skyline Energy, please visit SkylineEnergy.ca.
To learn about additional alternative investment products offered through Skyline Wealth, please visit SkylineWealth.ca.
Skyline Clean Energy Fund is operated and managed by Skyline Group of Companies.
About Skyline Wealth
Skyline Wealth Management Inc. (“Skyline Wealth”) is a boutique investment firm offering a shelf of privately owned and managed alternative investment products, specialized in the real estate and clean energy industries.
Skyline Wealth is the exclusive Exempt Market Dealer of four alternative investment products: Skyline Apartment REIT, Skyline Industrial REIT, Skyline Retail REIT, and Skyline Clean Energy Fund.
Providing its services to more than 5,000 investors, Skyline Wealth is committed to offering institutional-quality investment products for the “everyday investor”—and with impeccable client service.
Skyline Wealth is part of Skyline Group of Companies.
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