Calgary, Edmonton recognized for cleantech industry in global rankings

The two Alberta cities were dubbed ‘ecosystems to watch’ in North America in a report being presented at COP28

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Calgary is one of North America’s up-and-coming leaders in clean technology and innovation, a new report says, joining a list that includes only a handful of Canadian cities.

Calgary and Edmonton were recently named the two cleantech ecosystems to watch in North America by Startup Genome, a San Francisco-based policy advisory and research firm. Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, Boston, New York City and Vancouver were identified as the top cleantech cities in North America.

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The report was released this week at COP28 in Dubai, which more than 100 Alberta political and business leaders are attending, including Premier Danielle Smith.

Cleantech looks at how companies can reduce emissions and can include renewables, carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS), and bio-based plastics, among other types of green technology.

The southern Alberta city also tied with five cities for 31st in the global cleantech ecosystem rankings, which show Calgary has some of the strongest focus on cleantech but remains relatively weak when it comes to funding, performance, startup experience and talent.

The company valued Calgary’s ecosystem at $5.2 billion — relatively small against the $34.6 billion global average.

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Startup Genome notes that Alberta’s low provincial sales and corporate income taxes help make it more affordable to set up shop than Vancouver and Toronto, while it also has access to the fastest-growing tech workforce in North America, according to 2022 LinkedIn Talent Insights.

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The report also alludes to the Energy Transition Centre, which opened in 2020 to support the development of new energy technologies. Two Calgary-based companies — Carbon Upcycling Technologies and Eavor — also made the 2023 Global Cleantech 100 list.

The city’s efforts on fintech — represented by fundraising rounds at Neo Financial and Symend that eclipsed $145 million and $151 million respectively — alongside agtech and new food are referenced as Calgary’s sub-sector strengths.

Edmonton was meanwhile touted for its high density of life science companies, along with its strengths in AI, big data and analytics. Its ecosystem was valued significantly lower than Calgary’s at $1.3 billion but has growth at a faster rate over the past two years than its Prairie counterpart.

Startup Genome specifically referenced the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii) as a “world leader” in research. It’s part of the Pan-Canadian AI Strategy, the world’s first national AI strategy.

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