B.C. green economy could hit $27 billion a year

18/03/2010 at 2:33 pm Leave a comment

Report finds worldwide market value of $5.2 trillion US

British Columbia’s green economy could grow into a $27-billion-per-year green giant by 2020, according to a new report from the Globe Foundation.

B.C. could become a “living laboratory” for green-sector growth that would add value to the provincial gross domestic product more than twice as fast as the economy as a whole, John Wiebe, president and CEO of the Vancouver-based foundation, said yesterday in an interview.

“This is a very, very conservative estimate. I think this can be much bigger depending on what one does and how one goes about it,” Wiebe said.

B.C.’s present green-sector economy encompasses 28 sectors and sub-sectors, including renewable energy, forestry, transit and telecommunications.

It accounts for 166,000 direct and indirect full-time-equivalent jobs, 7.2 per cent of total provincial employment.

“The green economy is a fast-growing economic development model that focuses on the creation of green jobs, the promotion of real, sustainable economic growth, and the prevention of environmental pollution, global warming, resource depletion and ecological degradation,” the report states.

Worldwide, the green sector has a market value estimated at $5.2 trillion US.

The B.C. green sector accounted for 10.2 per cent of GDP in 2008 — $15.3 billion in direct and indirect GDP, the report said.

A Globe research team calculated that green-sector GDP growth by 2020 would push that to $21 billion at a “conservative” annual growth rate of 2.7 per cent — or $27.4 billion at an annual growth rate of five per cent.

At the higher rate of growth, which the report calls “achievable,” the green sector would account for 14.1 per cent of total GDP.

The report assumes that B.C. overall maintains projected annual GDP growth of 2.2 per cent.

Globe says the higher target is achievable in light of B.C.’s inherent advantages such as a “full spectrum” of renewable energy resources, an abundant supply of natural gas, a “world-class” quality of life and a strategic port location on the western North American coast.

The report says the international marketplace for green products and services is highly competitive and that B.C. will need exportable technology and ideas and solid self-promotion in order to succeed.

“What we wanted to do with the report is to show that we’ve got a great platform here, a platform that we can grow, and use to create jobs and create economic opportunity,” Wiebe said.

“We were very tight and conservative on how big this can grow. I think the key point here is that Vancouver, British Columbia — Metro Vancouver — has a great opportunity. The platform is here, the tools are here. It’s a matter of making it happen.”

Globe lists four sectors showing the greatest potential for future GDP and job generation — clean and alternative energy, including bioenergy and hydrogen fuel cell technology; energy management and efficiency including efficient lighting and advanced battery technology; green building design and development, and environmental protection, including water conservation and carbon capture and storage.

The biggest challenge, according to the report, is a potential shortage of the labour needed to support the highest projected rate of growth.

By Scott Simpson, Canwest News Service

Link to full article

Entry filed under: Green technology, Renewable Energy.

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