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Wil Robertson's picture
Public Policy Thinker Independent Consultant

An analytical thinker, with a passion for promoting the sharing of our truths. Proud to further the causes of social acceptance, sustainability, and justice. 

  • Member since 2021
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  • May 13, 2021
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As the economies of the world begin to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, this blog highlights the significance that renewable energy has to play in our pursuit to build back better. In Canada, we are slowly moving towards this understanding, yet some provinces, like many U.S. states, are lagging behind. Meanwhile, some U.S. states and many European countries who have made renewable energy a pillar of their economic recovery are reaping the benefits. This article considers the benefits of an economic recovery that has renewables as a cornerstone. Read on to find out what I have to say on the matter, based on my research and the policy movements of powers around the globe. 

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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on May 13, 2021

Thanks for sharing this, Wil. In certain fossil fuel focused areas-- West Virginia in the U.S. and Alberta in Canada, for example-- there's a natural resistance to this shift because of entire communities that economically rely upon the existing fossil fuel business. What do you think the most effective 'actionable' plans need to include-- it's one thing to say we'll transition those workers to more sustainable energy jobs, but those shifts need to be as frictionless as possible to support those workers and their communities. 

Wil Robertson's picture
Wil Robertson on May 13, 2021

A very valid concern, to be sure. What may not be a surprise is that the answer is not simple. The U.S. and Canada have begun considering this, but part of the answer is in education. Yes, many workers and laborers can transition rather easily to a job in the green economy. But, for some, education and training will be necessary to shift folks into suitable roles for their skill sets and experiences. The government needs to take some initiative in this reagard, as it is totally unreasonable to ask people to pay for this education on their own. Thankfully, as of right now, both U.S. and Canadian governments, at the Federal level, are making strides to ensure this happens to smoothly transition long-term skilled workers to the green economy of the future. 

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on May 13, 2021

The U.S. and Canada have begun considering this, but part of the answer is in education. Yes, many workers and laborers can transition rather easily to a job in the green economy. But, for some, education and training will be necessary to shift folks into suitable roles for their skill sets and experiences. The government needs to take some initiative in this reagard, as it is totally unreasonable to ask people to pay for this education on their own. 

Not only that, but you'll have people towards the sunset of their careers but not yet in a position to retire that won't want to be educated and retrained because their career is coming to a close already. Hopefully these situations are recognized in some way as well. 

Julian Jackson's picture
Julian Jackson on May 20, 2021

An interesting article, and a lively debate BTL. Although it was not perhaps part of the remit of your article, reducing energy consumption by insulating homes and greater use of heat pumps should also be part of the recovery. I don't know about Canada, but here in the UK the construction industry has suffered during the pandemic. It would be a boost to the economy to improve the energy inefficient buildings we have a lot of, produce jobs and profits, which would then be spent into consumer goods and leisure activities. On other points, although some older workers might be resistant to reskilling, others are not - one home improvement chain here: B&Q has a policy of recruiting part-time older workers as they are more reliable and already have many positive attributes.

Wil Robertson's picture
Wil Robertson on May 20, 2021

Hi Julian, your points are well put. Here in Canada, in most of the country, largely the construction industry has done well since the first wave of the pandemic, despite the ridiculous increases in the cost of lumber. This is partially due to new developers and large numbers of home improvement projects. Interestingly enough, in the 2021 Budget, and in announcements earlier this week, the federal government has announced a large program to encourage homeowners to retrofit their homes, and funding to pay for the training of 2000 new energy advisors across the country to help with energy audits and such. As to heat pumps, most folks have actually bought in to installing them already across the country, especially large apartment rental companies. Reskilling is slowly taking place here, but stay tuned because it will likely take off with rocket fuel here in the next 12 months. 

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Mark Silverstone on May 14, 2021

Of course it does not help that certain politicians and news outlets are not, by any stretch of the imagination, finished with telling people in West Virginia and Rocky Mountain states and Alberta that "clean coal" will happen and that they can continue on as always. And that´s not to mention that the mere suggestion that the other fossil fuel industries are going to have to adapt to a new normal is met with bitter recrimination.

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