MaRS Library Renewable energy generation
What do we mean by the term “renewable energy generation technologies”? We are referring to technologies designed to harvest the unlimited energy resource of the sun, from which wind, bioenergy and hydropower derive. Many elements play a role in driving the growth of the market share of renewable resources: climate change, pollution and the convenience factor. Another key driver is the fact that renewables often makes good financial sense―while competing technologies have fuel costs that will rise over time, renewable resources have free fuel costs and their capital costs will decrease over time, through innovations in technology design and increased efficiencies in production and economies of scale.
The resources below will help entrepreneurs with renewable energy generation technologies understand their market, in order to build better business cases and models to bring their innovations to market.
This resource contains the following sections:
I. Business of Renewable Energy Generation
These links will help you find funding and mentoring resources that are geared specifically for startups in the field of renewable energy technology.
Renewable Energy Technology Accelerators and Incubators
The following programs are open to all Canadian startups within the cleantech sector. Be sure to check out our general listing of Accelerators and incubators.
CTA CleanTech (The Canadian Technology Accelerator, The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service): CTA CleanTech works with small- and medium-sized Canadian companies that are gaining traction in the market and have a scalable technology innovation. CTA CleanTech connects them with resources and contacts that can boost growth. These services may span demos and strategic partnerships, financing opportunities, education and access to mentoring.
Global Cleantech Cluster Association: To become a member of the Global Cleantech Cluster Association (GCCA), a company must be later-stage (revenue-generating, or pre-revenue with proven demonstration and potential to scale) and be nominated by one of the GCCA’s cleantech clusters. MaRS is a cluster of the GCCA, as are Hamilton-based Golden Horseshoe Strategic Energy Alliance, Montreal-based Écotech Québec, and Vancouver-based GreenTech Exchange.
The Cleantech Open: The mission of The Cleantech Open is to help entrepreneurs develop innovative clean technologies. The group runs a competition where winning startups receive a set of services to help grow their business idea. The competition’s scope is global and the startup must fall under one of the following categories:
- Air, water and waste
- Energy efficiency
- Renewable energy
- Green building
- Smart power, green grid and energy storage
Renewable Energy Technology Funding
The resources below will help you find funding sources geared toward the renewable energy technology industry. Be sure to also check out our
Funding your startup page for links to general funding programs and opportunities.
CME SMART Green Program: CME SMART Green provides support to manufacturers in Ontario to help them lower their greenhouse gas emissions and increase energy efficiency. The $25-million fund provides qualifying companies with non-repayable grants covering 50% of eligible costs, up to $200,000.
Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation [NOHFC] Programs: The NOHFC supports research, development and commercialization projects that demonstrate a high commercial potential in Northern Ontario. It also fosters collaborative activities among industry and research institutions and encourages successful innovation in small companies.
Green Municipal Fund (Federation of Canadian Municipalities [FCM]): The FCM funds municipal environmental initiatives in the brownfields, energy, transportation, waste and water sectors. In order to qualify, an organization must be working collaboratively with a Canadian municipality. The FCM will cover 50% of eligible project costs, to a maximum of $175,00 for plans and feasibility studies or $350,000 for pilot projects.
ArcTern Ventures: ArcTern Ventures (formerly the MaRS Cleantech Fund) provides $1,000,000 to $4,000,000 in funding to early-stage companies that have a proven global market opportunity and hold strong intellectual property, among other requirements.
Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC): SDTC runs the SD Tech Fund and the TargetGHG Collaborative Technology Development Program. The $915-million SD Tech Fund supports innovative cleantech companies with the development and pre-commercial demonstration of their technologies. SDTC has also partnered with Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) to create the TargetGHG Collaborative Technology Development Program. This program supports small and medium-sized enterprises with funding for development and demonstration projects of greenhouse gas-reduction technologies.
II. Trends in Renewable Energy Generation
Look to the following resources to find information on the latest trends in renewable energy generation.
Canadian Solar Industries Association (CanSIA): The website of this national, non-profit trade association offers many valuable resources, including sections on market intelligence, and government and regulatory issues. Particularly useful is its Roadmap 2020: Powering Canada’s Future with Solar Electricity (PDF).
Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA): CanWEA publishes installation maps, lists of wind farms in Canada, lists of planned wind farms in Canada, case studies, and more. For example, CanWEA has developed a profile on the Ontario Wind Energy Market (PDF).
For Canadian data on small wind energy, CanWEA’s Small Wind Energy website is helpful. Note that the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) also offers relevant and valuable content (see below).
CanmetENERGY (Natural Resources Canada): CanmetENERGY has a renewables section on its website, including content on wind energy, solar thermal and solar PV, small hydro, marine energy and smart grids. It provides publications, resource maps and software tools such as RETScreen International and other databases.
Another useful tool offered by Natural Resources Canada is its PV potential and insolation map of Canada.
American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE): ACORE provides several useful publications for entrepreneurs interested in US and global markets. Several reports are available, and ACORE maintains an updated news section on their site.
Sandia National Laboratories: On its website, Sandia National Laboratories features a section on renewable energy, covering wind, solar, water, geothermal, biomass, and supercritical carbon dioxide. Its publication lists are extensive. The site also highlights programs and initiatives, as well as news and events.
State of the Market (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [FERC]): FERC annually reports on the state of the US markets. These State of the Market analyses are useful for understanding the landscape in which renewable energy technologies operate in the US. A section focuses on renewable energy generation.
U.S. Department of Energy – Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE): The U.S. Department of Energy runs a number of programs through EERE, covering areas such as biomass, geothermal, hydrogen and fuel cells, solar, water and wind. Its website offers many resources including FAQs, publications, and information on education training, internships and fellowships.
U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA): The EIA devotes a section of its website to renewable and alternative fuels. The EIA publishes many reports on renewables, such as the Annual Energy Outlook.
U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL): The U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory conducts fundamental science research and energy analysis, along with product validation. See its Energy Analysis page for data on markets, resource assessments, policies and more.
Clean Edge: Overall trends for the cleantech industry can be tracked through market intelligence from Clean Edge. Clean Edge publishes several benchmarking reports, covering both the global and US markets.
International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA): IRENA publishes studies useful for market information. Many of these reports provide background data and insights into market barriers and opportunities. Also see their REsource portal for country profiles, and data and statistics on various renewable energy topics.
Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21): REN21’s Global Status Report covers trends in the renewables space and provides insights into the investment and policy landscapes. REN21 also publishes Regional Status Reports, which investigate the renewables sector in various emerging markets.
III. Renewable Energy Generation Statistics
These resources provide access to renewable energy generation statistics.
A Review of Renewable Energy in Canada, 2015 (Canadian Industrial Energy End-use Data and Analysis Centre, 2016) (PDF): Completed in 2016 for Natural Resources Canada and Environment Canada, this report assesses how much energy in Canada in 2015 was produced from renewables, and how much carbon this production displaced. The report details some of these statistics by province.
Canada Year Book 2012 (Statistics Canada): While Statistics Canada does not directly track renewable energy generation, and wind is only briefly mentioned in the chapter on energy, the Year Book does publish helpful demand and consumption statistics and it reports on the market share of competing technologies.
Renewable Energy: Wind and Solar: Canada’s competitive advantages (Invest in Canada, 2014) (PDF): This report by Invest in Canada surveys the status of the industry in Canada, offering many useful facts (lists most active companies; reviews the state of innovation for the solar and wind sectors in Canada; reviews foreign direct investors; lists renewable energy clusters; and makes a case for labour and cost competitiveness for Canadian based businesses.
American Wind Energy Association (AWEA): AWEA provides wind industry statistics through their webpages as well as through downloadable fact sheets and reports. They can be accessed from the Research & Data tab.
Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE): This US database, which is categorized by state, is a robust source for information on energy efficiency and renewable energy policies and regulations. It also houses details on related incentives and programs.
National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL): NREL supplies data on market penetration, industry trends, policies and market drivers. It also gives information on price and cost for the different sectors, including biomass/ethanol, fuel cell technologies, geothermal, solar and wind. NREL also produces reports analyzing the green power markets.
U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA): The EIA offers a great deal of information useful to entrepreneurs. The EIA issues a monthly report with updated statistics: these numbers shed light on production and consumption by source (consumption is broken down into residential and commercial, industrial, and transportation), and the electric power sectors. The monthly report also includes data on biodiesel and fuel ethanol.
The EIA’s Electric Power Monthly provides information on generation, fuel consumption, sales, revenue, average price time series, and more.
The EIA publishes an Annual Energy Outlook, rich in tables. This resource provides a projection of various energy-source market shares using a business-as-usual scenario―assuming all current policies remain in place and expire as expected.
EIA also offers an “electricity data browser.” For example, one can view results for “Net Generation for Wind, Monthly.” To generate results for another technology or data set, use the drop-down menus provided.
Industry data can be hard to find for renewable energy technologies. The industry definition of the North American Industry Classification (NAIC) combines various renewable energy technologies into one category called, “221119―other electric power generation, which excludes hydroelectric, nuclear and fossil fuel.” This is why there are no statistics listed by Industry Canada or Statistics Canada for renewables. Industry associations are a better way to glean information on installed capacity in Canada. For the US, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) does a good job of tracking renewables (compared to what industry posts and other figures).
United Nations 2014 Energy Statistics Yearbook (PDF): This study by the United Nations is available online free of charge. The report includes sections on renewable energy, detailing production of various technologies and energy types by region and country.
EU Energy in Figures: Statistical Pocketbook (European Commission): This excellent annual publication by the European Commission tracks European and global energy statistics.
Eurostat: The European Commission’s Eurostat publishes statistics on renewable energy.
Global Energy Statistical Yearbook 2016 (Enerdata): Enerdata’s Global Energy Statistical Yearbook shows the percentages of global renewable energy consumption and electricity production for continental regions. It also lists the ten highest and ten lowest countries in these categories.
If you register for a free account, you can get IEA Renewables Information Statistics from the OECD iLibrary. You will be prompted to sign up once you select a dataset you would like to see.
U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA): TheEIA supplies international energy statistics. This data spans installed capacity, biofuels production, biofuels consumption, renewable electricity production, and renewable electricity consumption.
IV. Tracking Latest Developments in Renewable Energy Generation
These resources provide information on the latest developments in renewable energy generation.
All Renewables Energy Industries
Bloomberg New Energy Finance: The website of Bloomberg New Energy Finance includes a resource centre that covers the broader clean energy industry and carbon markets. This section can be freely accessed, and includes press releases, PowerPoint presentations, podcasts, white papers and industry news.
Greentech Media: Greentech Media delivers a broad range of information on cleantech. It offers a newsletter (registration is required), and also provides links to free reports from companies, industry associations and other relevant organizations.
Renewable Energy World: Renewable Energy World reports on the solar, wind, geothermal, bioenergy and hydro industries. An e-newsletter is also available by subscription free of charge, as is the digital version of its publication,
Industry associations can be of help to entrepreneurs in understanding trends and providing statistics.
- Bioenergy Knowledge Discovery Framework (KDF) run by the U.S. Department of Energy has valuable tools, including the “Billion Ton Update” data files and maps to interactively explore national and state data. It also offers downloadable crop data.
- Canadian Biogas Association, see their resources tab for policy information, links to further resources, funding and incentives, etc.
- Renewable Industries Canada has a good resource section. Of most interest is its map of renewable fuel production facilities, which includes such information as nameplate capacity and feedstock source.
- Canadian Solar Industries Association (CanSIA) keeps readers informed of news, event postings and general industry information. Its website also offers a market intelligence section.
- Greentech Solar
- pv magazine
- American Wind Energy Association (AWEA)
- Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA)
- North American Windpower
- Canadian Electricity Association (CEA) is the collective voice for utilities across Canada and makes available many useful reports, links and other information.
- International Hydropower Association (IHA)
- National Hydropower Association (NHA)
Twitter is a great way to track industry trends and keep up to date on global issues. We recommend the following key handles: