Tidal power could create over 100K construction jobs in Canada

Illustration/Cape Sharp Tidal turbine being built at Aecon Group’s facility in Pictou, Nova Scotia (Photo: Cape Sharp Tidal)

The Columbia Institute has released a study which predicts that that the construction of new tidal and wave energy generation facilities could bring over 100,000 new jobs for the Canadian construction industry by 2050.

The Vancouver-based public policy think-thank Columbia Institute has released a study titled ‘Jobs for Tomorrow – Canada’s Building Trades and Net Zero Emissions’ which analyzed the potential scenarios for the job creation in the construction industry as Canada moves towards to low-carbon economy.

The study predicts potential impacts on the construction industry if Canada implements policy and investments, both public and private, to meet its Paris Agreement goals.

Under the net-zero emissions by 2050 scenario, Canada’s ability to meet its climate goals will be based on the construction of new facilities for the generation of electricity using renewable sources, including hydro, wind, solar, tidal, biomass, and geothermal energy.

Columbia Institute has stated that building out 5% of Canada’s power grid with tidal and wave energy generation facilities would create 109,770 construction jobs.

“As an energy source, tidal and wave power are still miniscule in Canada, producing only 12,820 MWh of generated power in 2015 — about .002 per cent of the national grid. Bringing this to 5%, or 50 TWh, would mean a massive increase in these generation facilities. Building out an additional 22,727 MW of tidal and wave generation capacity would be a significant undertaking, but already there are small projects - like the new Cape Sharp Tidal’s generator in the Bay of Fundy - making an impact,” it is stated in the study.

Renewable energy in total, according to the study’s 2050 net-zero emissions scenario, could create over 1,177,055 direct construction jobs should it be composed primarily of hydroelectric (40%); new wind, solar, geothermal and tidal power generation (43% combined); and legacy nuclear (5%).

Charley Beresford, Columbia Institute’s Executive Director, said: “If Canada is serious about meeting our climate commitments, we need to move faster in areas like renewable energy, green building construction, building retrofits, and transportation infrastructure. Meeting our climate goals is good for the planet and good for the economy and job creation.”

The study, released earlier this month, was commissioned by Canada’s Building Trades Unions, the country’s national union for over half a million Canadian construction workers.

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