New details have been released regarding the Government of Ontario’s commitment to green energy grants and incentives for business. The low-carbon economy that is being proposed by Ontario’s government will seek to raise funds from a variety of carbon-emitting activities and reinvest those funds into the economy by supporting clean technologies.
Businesses in Ontario, especially those in industrial industries, will soon be required to participate in the provincial government’s cap and trade system. Under the proposed plan, Ontario will join a carbon credit trading network that is currently being used by Québec and California. Carbon credits can be purchased which raise funding and enable the government to implement new clean energy plans and incentives.
Premier Kathleen Wynne’s recent announcement focused on how the proceeds of cap and trade will be used to transition Ontario towards a low-carbon economy. Among the most significant grants and incentives for businesses are vehicle, freight, and transportation funding, greentech retrofit rebates, and clean technology research and development funding.
Clean Technology Incentives to Offset Ontario Carbon Taxing
Businesses will be able to access a number of new initiatives that have been created as part of the $8.3 billion plan to kickstart Ontario’s green economy.
Some of the most promising programs that businesses will be able to use include:
Energy Efficient Vehicles, Freight, and Transportation
Ontario’s push for electric vehicle adoption will be ushered in with lucrative incentives for businesses. This extends beyond passenger vehicles and will also include freight and transportation vehicles, such as trucks and busses.
- New electric vehicle purchases may receive up to $14,000 in rebates per vehicle until 2020.
- Incentives will be created for businesses to add electric vehicle charging stations at their workplaces. By 2018, all newly constructed office buildings must provide charging infrastructure.
- Gasoline purchases will be subject to a 4.3 cent surcharge per litre. This will help to integrate a higher volume of clean, renewable fuel sources like ethanol into the gasoline, reducing the carbon contained in vehicle emissions.
Green Technology Retrofit Rebates
Companies who are committed to enhancing the energy efficiency of their office or operations will be provided with a wide range of government grants and incentives. The government of Ontario has committed $3 billion over the next 4 years to modify and enhance buildings, of which $1.2 billion will be allocated for factories and industrial businesses.
- Businesses will be encouraged to work towards ‘net zero carbon’ status, where fewer emissions are produced and steps are taken to clean emissions from the environment.
- Solar water heating, replacing old and outdated windows, and using geothermal heating systems are just some of the retrofits that will be considered for rebates.
Research and Development Grants for CleanTech Innovations
Ontario plans to be a leader in the federal government’s call for greater business innovation. $375 million will be provided towards energy efficiency research and development projects, including new incentives for businesses who develop green technology. By restructuring the province’s economy around green technologies, Ontario will add sustained high-paying employment opportunities and lower business expenses.
- $55 million has been committed to Ontario’s cleantech sector and the government intends to increase this funding as new research and development grants are created.
- The provincial government will explore how tax credits will encourage business investment. This may lead to the introduction of new tax credits in the future.
- $140 million will be provided to establish a Global Centre for Low Carbon Mobility. This research and development centre will be located at an Ontario post-secondary institution and focus on the collaboration of businesses and student researchers. Research insights will largely focus on the transportation industry, providing new solutions for electric cars and off-road vehicles.
Additional Canadian Government Funding Programs to Support CleanTech
In addition to these new initiatives for Ontario businesses, a variety of existing government funding programs are available to support innovative research and development activities that stimulate cleantech and greentech sector growth. Some of the most popular Canadian government funding programs to support clean energy development include:
Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) Technology Development & Research Grants
IRAP funding helps businesses breakthrough technical challenges by enabling the completion of innovative research and development projects. These research grants will provide up to 80% of internal labour fees directly related to R&D projects, while contractor labour costs can be reduced by as much as 50%. Ideal IRAP projects include software implementation, productivity improvements, production design, and energy efficient technology development.
Canadian International Innovation Program (CIIP) Research and Development Grants
International research partnerships may help Canadian firms develop better products and processes in less time. With the Canadian International Innovation Program (CIIP), businesses can cultivate relationships with companies in foreign countries to access new synergies and share knowledge. To assist these research partnerships, Canadian firms can access up to 50% of product and development costs to a maximum of $600,000 in grant funding.
Automotive Innovation Fund (AIF) Funding for Energy Efficient Vehicle Development
Through the Automotive Innovation Fund (AIF), Canadian businesses can receive funding to implement projects that increase vehicle fuel efficiency and reduce harmful carbon emissions. Automotive companies with large research-based projects may receive up to 10-15% of project expenses to a maximum $80M in repayable funding.
IESO Conservation Fund for Energy Reduction, Displacement, and Tech Development
Government grants provided through the IESO Conservation Fund are exclusively for Ontario businesses and homeowners who are reducing their impact on the province’s electrical grid. A variety of incentives are aimed towards businesses who reduce the amount of energy they consume or shift energy demand to off-peak hours.
There are many streams of funding provided through the program, such as the Emerging Technology Development stream where businesses may be able to receive up to $250,000 to develop a clean technology.
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