April 3, 2009
Thanks to record government deficit spending, there is one economic sector that appears to be flush with money that needs to be spent: green projects.
This week Toronto Greenhouse aimed to bring together environment-focused entrepreneurs and investors. It was the first in a line of downtown events that will take place on the last Tuesday evening of every month. Kicking things off at the Steamwhistle Brewery, the place was packed (apparently sold out) as presenters pitched their ideas to a room full of potential investors (or lots of people with suits anyhow). The crowd was totally abuzz, with half the room content to focus on networking as opposed to what was going on up on the stage.
It’s really no wonder the suits are lining up to board the green investment train. In the US, Obama’s budget plan includes billions in green spending that could trickle down to the sector here in Canada. The Ontario government has recently announced $593 million in green stimulus funds in its budget. And Toronto is set to receive billions in public transit funding, even more than was expected.
Add to this the fact that the new Ontario Green Energy Act is chalk full of new subsidies for renewable projects and other green incentives, which seems to have already attracted some developments in solar projects. The new regulations should provide an additional boost to an already booming wind sector where according to government figures, Ontario had only 10 turbines in 2003; now there are 589. There are also other new programs that were planned years ago and are now coming on line, for example electronic waste collection is set to expand in Toronto and throughout Ontario.
I could keep going, but I’ll stop there. My point is that there are tons of green investment opportunites flowing through the city and the province. Of course, all this green buzz doesn’t come without its share of skeptics. Some in the US have questioned the value of Obama’s green spending plans, and if you are looking for a local dose of skepticism look no further than the National Post’s Lawrence Solomon arguing that green economics just don’t add up.