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Energy research and development expenditures by area of technology, 2016 (final)

Released: 2018-08-28

Expenditures remain constant on energy related research and development

Of the $18.1 billion spent by companies on in-house research and development (R&D) in Canada in 2016, just under 9% ($1.6 billion) was directed toward energy-related technologies. R&D spending on fossil fuels, including the production and transportation of coal, oil and natural gas, has been decreasing since 2014. It now accounts for 43.0% ($699 million) of total in-house energy-related R&D spending in Canada.

Spending declines on in-house energy R&D related to fossil fuels

In-house energy-related R&D expenditures on fossil fuels continued to decrease, reflecting the impact of the 2015 downturn in oil prices. These expenditures fell from $1.3 billion in 2014 to $948 million in 2015, and then down to $699 million in 2016. In particular, in-house R&D expenditures on fossil fuels in the oil and gas extraction, contract drilling and related services industry decreased by almost 50%, falling from $1.1 billion in 2014 to $571 million in 2016.

Higher proportion of in-house energy-related R&D expenditures allocated to energy efficient technologies

In 2016, R&D activities in the area of energy efficiency accounted for almost 20% of total in-house energy-related R&D expenditures. In-house R&D spending on energy efficiency technologies almost doubled, from $151 million in 2015 to $290 million in 2016. This trend was observed in almost all industries where energy efficiency technologies exist, particularly in the manufacturing sector.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Energy-related in-house research and development expenditures by area of technology in Canada
Energy-related in-house research and development expenditures by area of technology in Canada

Share of spending by foreign-controlled firms increasing in both in-house and outsourced energy-related R&D

Spending by foreign-controlled firms on in-house energy-related R&D increased to $403 million in 2016, after declining from $432 million in 2014 to $324 million in 2015. These firms represented almost one-quarter of all energy-related in-house R&D expenditures, with over 30% of this segment dedicated to energy-efficiency technologies. Foreign-controlled firms dedicated approximately one-third of their energy-related R&D spending to fossil-fuel technologies in 2016, down from the three-quarters spent on this area of technology in 2014.

Additionally, spending by foreign-controlled firms on outsourced energy-related R&D grew from $15 million in 2015 to $153 million in 2016. These firms increased their spending tenfold, from $13 million in 2015 to $136 million within Canada in 2016. These firms represented almost two-thirds of all energy-related outsourced R&D expenditures.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Energy-related outsourced research and development expenditures by country of control
Energy-related outsourced research and development expenditures by country of control

  Note to readers

Energy-related technologies

Energy-related technologies include: fossil fuels, renewable energy sources, nuclear fission and fusion, electric power, hydrogen and fuel cells, energy efficiency and other energy-related technologies.

Data collection

The Energy Research and Development Expenditures by Area of Technology survey data are collected by the Annual Survey of Research and Development in Canadian Industry.

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; STATCAN.infostats-infostats.STATCAN@canada.ca) or Media Relations (613-951-4636; STATCAN.mediahotline-ligneinfomedias.STATCAN@canada.ca).

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