Where where you 5 years ago on June 15th 2011 during the Vancouver Canucks Stanley Cup Loss Riot? Many of us remember the news images of burning police cruisers, looting, and a violent mob of fans. It was an infamous day for Vancouver and BC citizens in general as frustration of losing turned ugly.
Me? I was attending a Clean Capital tech conference in the Vancouver Convention Center along side NEST and others exchanging ideas for a knowledge based and sustainable BC economy. Mayor Gregor Roberts was the keynote speaker, and my company, Solaris Geothermal Inc, was a Top 10 Clean Tech startup maker of solar thermal systems. The day was filled with optimism and hope that a group of Entrepreneurs and Government people would drive a market towards renewable energy and a low Carbon future. The support did not arrive. In hindsight, June 2011 may have marked the turning point down towards failing Cleantech companies, because Federal and BC incentives stopped and have not returned in any significant way in the 5 year span. I watched as Mayor Roberts went from a passionate speech he enjoyed delivering, to the civic mayhem and riot police action a few hours later.Vancouver Canuck Stanley Cup Riot. Where where you 5 years ago on June 15th 2011? Click To Tweet
Five years later in June 2016 I have seen the Cleantech Industry rebuild and strengthen. #BCTECH in January confirmed that BC finally understands that the Innovation Economy of knowledge based workers is rapidly growing. It has not been with incentives like the red hot film industry still receives, despite being at maximum capacity. Nor has Cleantech been the Political fantasy that has proven an epic failure like LNG. It has been by passionate Entrepreneurs working for Ramen Noodles and hope to make a difference.
The little bootstrap financed startup defied the 80% odds of failure. Solaris did a pivot that resulted in the SunPump solar-assisted heat pump success. It was without support from Cities, BC, or Canada. The chance for funding from Angels was also a 1/400 chance, that formed a financial desert for start ups. I feel the time has come when even Vancouver, with aspirational goals to be the Greenest City, and even the BC Liberals pressured by increases in CO2, will announce Climate Action Plans.
If I was asked in 2011 about the progress for the Innovation and Cleantech economy, where would it be by June 2016? I would not have guessed Renewable Energy would be flat and declining since that low point. I pray the Liberal Government in BC makes aggressive Climate Action policy announcements in the next couple weeks. Can BC do 1/2 what Ontario has committed to last week?