Who Will Build Renewable Energy?

The energy transition has been underway for more than 25 years.

Solar, wind, run of river and geothermal are all energy sources that hold promise in our ongoing determination to move away from fossil fuels. Interestingly, utility companies are not building them; rather they are turning to the private sector as suppliers.

That means private enterprises are taking the risks. They’re buying or leasing the land, building the power sources, maintaining them and carrying the debt for decades. The costs are significant and the investment is not for the faint of heart.

A solar power plant regularly includes 45,000 or more panels, a wind turbine costs between 1.5 and 2.5 million dollars to put in place, then add in the cost of running transmission lines to the grid – run of river projects can easily run into the millions of dollars. These are investment decisions that regularly are shaded with the desire to invest in a healthier planet.

Then there is geothermal, which many people believe is the holy grail of renewable energy. That holds true until you examine the cost of development versus the long-term payback. For independent companies, the price and payback equation does not add up.

The women and men who venture into the renewable energy sector are brave and they are devoted to ensuring we have power sources that will reduce the impact on Mother Earth.

We invited Jamie Houssian of Elemental Energy to join us for a Conversation That Matters about the business of renewable energy.


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Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Dialogue presents Conversations That Matter. Join veteran Broadcaster Stuart McNish each week for an important and engaging Conversation about the issues shaping our future

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