Power investments would add $10.9B to GDP

…and create 150,000 jobs: Conference Board report

February 14, 2012   by PLANT STAFF

OTTAWA: More than 150,000 jobs will be created annually over the next 20 years from investments in electricity generation, transmission and distribution infrastructure, according to a new Conference Board of Canada report.

The analysis, Shedding Light on the Economic Impact of Investing in Electricity Infrastructure, also suggests future investment spending would contribute about $10.9 billion per year to real gross domestic product (GDP).

“Investments to upgrade, repair and expand Canada’s electricity infrastructure will boost Canada’s economy for years to come and create a steady stream of high paying jobs for Canadians,” said CEA CEO, Jim Burpee.  “Because these investments are necessary, a challenge not to be overlooked is ensuring the availability of workers with the necessary skills in a very tight labour market.”

The report says cumulative public and private investment in electricity infrastructure between 2011 and 2030 will total $347 billion, with the majority of investment slated for generation capacity. Investment is expected to peak between 2011 and 2015.

During this period, real GDP would be lifted by an average of 1.2% per year, supporting an average of 247,000 jobs per year.

A sizeable portion of the investment is estimated to be machinery and equipment, some of which is imported from outside Canada. Every $100 million invested in electricity infrastructure boosts real GDP by $85.6 million, creating roughly 1,200 person-years of employment.
Investment in electricity infrastructure would also impact many industries, including manufacturing and construction.

The report suggests the manufacturing sector would gain $1.4 billion and more than 12,000 jobs in fabricated metals, electrical equipment and component manufacturing.  The construction sector would gain an average of $3.8 billion and 61,000 jobs a year until 2030.

The services sector would also benefit from average growth of $5.3 billion a year due to increased demands for architects, engineers and computer system designers.

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