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Energy research and development expenditures by area of technology, 2015 (actual)

Released: 2017-12-08

Research and development spending on fossil fuels accounts for more than half of energy research and development by businesses

In 2015, $1.6 billion of in-house research and development (R&D) expenditures in Canada were directed to energy-related technologies, and 59.6% ($948 million) of that energy-related spending was linked to fossil fuels, including the production and transportation of coal, oil and natural gas.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Energy-related in-house research and development expenditures by area of technology in Canada, 2014-2015
Energy-related in-house research and development expenditures by area of technology in Canada, 2014-2015 

In-house energy-related R&D spending on fossil fuels down by almost one-third

In 2015, in-house energy-related R&D expenditures declined for the first time since 2009. In-house energy-related R&D spending on fossil fuels fell 29.2%, from $1.3 billion in 2014 to $948 million in 2015, in tandem with lower crude oil prices.

In-house R&D expenditures on non-emitting and renewable energy technologies decline

In-house R&D expenditures related to non-emitting and renewable energy declined from $644 million in 2014 to $492 million in 2015. These expenditures comprised R&D spending on energy efficiency-related technology ($151 million), nuclear-related technology ($148 million), renewable energy resources ($122 million) and hydrogen and fuel cells ($71 million).

Manufacturing sector increases in-house energy-related R&D spending

Manufacturers spent $303 million on in-house energy-related R&D in 2015, compared with $189 million the previous year. Spending on in-house energy-related R&D by services-producing industries declined from $444 million in 2014 to $335 million in 2015. Within the services sector, spending by professional services companies declined from $240 million in 2014 to $214 million in 2015.

Foreign-controlled firms perform over one-fifth of in-house energy R&D

Spending by foreign-controlled firms on in-house energy-related R&D declined from $432 million in 2014 to $324 million in 2015. These firms continued to represent over one-fifth of all energy-related in-house R&D expenditures, with over half of this segment dedicated to fossil-fuel technologies. In 2014, foreign-controlled firms dedicated three-quarters of their energy-related R&D spending to fossil-fuel technologies.

Sustainable Development Goals

On January 1, 2016, the world officially began implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development—the United Nations' transformative plan of action that addresses urgent global challenges over the next 15 years. The plan is based on 17 specific sustainable development goals.

The release "Energy research and development expenditures by area of technology" is an example of how Statistics Canada supports the reporting on the Global Goals for Sustainable Development. This release will be used in helping to measure the following goal:

  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; or Media Relations (613-951-4636;

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