Small province, big opportunity: renewable energy on Prince Edward Island

By Rebecca Skinner, Investor Services Advisor, Atlantic, Invest in Canada

Prince Edward Island Renewable Energy

A shared mission to reduce environmental impacts has fueled innovation globally. From more efficient lighting solutions to better electric vehicle batteries and even harnessing the world’s largest tides for renewable energy generation, Canada has been, and continues to be at the forefront of this innovation-led mission. 

The Government of Canada has released its plan for meeting Canada’s net-zero carbon emissions target by 2050. The new Strategic Innovation Fund – Net Zero Accelerator will provide $3 billion over 5 years to support decarbonization projects, the scale-up of new technology, and the adoption of cleantech solutions. Other initiatives to support a green recovery in Canada include a fund to secure investments in zero-emissions products and a plan to cut corporate tax rates for companies in the space by 50%

Now, global investors are turning their attention towards Canada—a great location for cleantech, renewable energy, and decarbonization projects at any stage of development or scale. The province of Prince Edward Island (PEI) and its government is continuing to invest in the future of the industry with a newly announced $10 million fund for cleantech research and development projects, as well as three tax-free development zones to be established in the province. 

Map of Canada with Atlantic Canada provinces highlighted

 

Creating a more sustainable future on Prince Edward Island 

A leader in wind energy

Located on the East Coast, PEI is one of four provinces referred to as Atlantic Canada—a region of 2.4 million people with a collective GDP of $105.8 billion. Known as the Green Province, PEI has established itself as a North American leader in wind energy and is positioned for leadership in emerging renewable energy sources. Through extensive research and development, PEI has become a leader in building wind energy capacity to meet its electricity needs. Approximately 25% of PEI's electrical needs are met by wind energy—one of the highest percentages in North America. This capacity is only expected to increase with the establishment of a 40 MW, onshore wind farm planned for 2025.  

The Wind Energy Institute of Canada (WEICan) is located in North Cape, PEI and is ideally situated for wind study with 300-degree exposure to the water, average wind speeds of 8.7 m/s at 80 m, and numerous icing events per year. WEICan’s facilities include a 35-acre small wind test site and a 10 MW Wind R&D Park, which includes a newly commissioned 111.5 kW/223 kWh battery storage system and a 109-kW solar photovoltaic array

These facilities at the Institute are open for collaboration with industry which may be used as a testing, demonstration, validation, or research laboratory. 

Samsung and Summerside, PEI investing in solar energy

In 2018, Samsung Renewable Energy partnered with the City of Summerside, PEI on the world’s first behind the meter, solar and battery pilot project. Coined the Renewable CUP Project, its goal is to test, validate, and refine solar and battery in a utility setting. 

Today, Samsung Renewable Energy and the City of Summerside are continuing their journey towards renewable energy innovation and are driving the adoption of renewables and smart city technologies. With the development and installation of 16 MWs of solar AC along with a 20 MWh, 10 MW power transfer battery system, Summerside is advancing the adoption and integration of renewables into an electrical grid and incorporating seamless delivery to customers in an economic, social and environmentally responsible manner. The project consists of 65,000 solar panels and eight tractor-trailer sized batteries

Samsung Renewable Energy's investment leverages the CIty of Summerside’s Living Lab, which is a real-life test and experimentation environment where users and producers co-create innovations. With municipally owned infrastructure and its own utility, a variety of potential applications can be developed and tested in Summerside. A few applications that resonate with existing priorities and key investments in renewable energy and clean tech include electric storage and grid integration, electric vehicles (EV), EV charging stations with battery storage, solar energy integration, and biofuels from waste. 

An accessible testbed for renewable energy sources

If your company is looking for a location to test a renewable energy or cleantech project or concept, Prince Edward Island offers a compelling value proposition to global investors. These include competitive incentives, such as the Innovation and Development Labour Rebate of 25% on eligible salaries and wages

Described above, the City of Summerside and WEICan both provide strategic test environments to take your project to the next level. And to top it all off, the Summerside Business Commons, PEI’s first eco-business park, offers world-class facilities with smart, environmentally friendly and resource-saving features. It could be your next location. 

More reasons to take a closer look at Canada’s smallest province

PEI may be Canada’s smallest province, but it has several advantages to offer international investors in a wide variety of industries and interests. Significant advantages include low labour costs and low corporate tax rates. The workforce is loyal, with an average tenure rate of 9.3 years in 2020—one of the highest rates in the country.  

The University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) produces qualified graduates with industry experience. For example, students in the Bachelor of Science in Sustainable Design Engineering program are required to work with local companies to produce industry-sponsored prototypes capable of deployment for testing in an actual industrial environment. This partnership allows companies to develop relationships with third and fourth-year students, who are often hired after graduation. 

Beyond these tangible factors, PEI offers its residents a quality of life that is hard to match. The province features world-class golf courses, beaches, peaceful communities, great schools, universal public healthcare, friendly neighbours and commute times to be envied. There are extensive bicycling and hiking trails across the island, including the Confederation Trail, which spans 449 kilometers. Home ownership is within reach for many, with an average home price of $300,538 in January 2021—less than half the national average home price in the same period. 

Several multinational companies have realized the opportunity that PEI offers its business, as well as its employees. The Island has attracted global investors, including Japan-headquartered Sekisui Diagnostics, UK-based Croda, and US-based StandardAero, Honeywell and Invesco. Want to add your company to this list? Through its regional office, Invest in Canada works with partners in Prince Edward Island to connect global investors with business opportunities. 

Contact us today to discuss your next investment project.