Investing in clean energy technology to create jobs and help the environment

News Release

MP Wilkinson announces $2.4 million investment in clean ocean technology to provide sustainable power solutions

November 16, 2017 – Victoria, British Columbia – Western Economic Diversification Canada

Canadians will benefit from an investment of more than $2.4 million at the University of Victoria (UVic) to develop alternative, clean energy.

Jonathan Wilkinson, Member of Parliament for North Vancouver and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, announced the funding today at the University of Victoria on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD).

MP Wilkinson announced $1.4 million from WD to establish the Pacific Regional Institute for Marine Energy Discovery (PRIMED) at the University of Victoria. The institute, led by mechanical engineer Dr. Brad Buckham, will help develop and commercialize marine renewable energy technologies (MRE).

Marine renewable energy is generated by moving water like tides, waves and river currents. British Columbia is home to abundant coastlines, rivers and a cluster of MRE developers. PRIMED will bring together the skills, tools and knowledge of companies, academics and coastal remote communities interested in MRE projects to provide solutions to the challenges facing the industry and to commercialize MRE technologies.

Investing in clean energy technology has the potential to change the way many Canadians consume energy.  Many remote, off-grid communities in British Columbia, including Indigenous communities, rely on diesel fuel for power generation. This method is expensive and poses threats to the environment. Developing a strong clean technology industry, with investments in MRE, will help support the adoption of alternative technologies and create well-paying, middle class jobs for Canadians.

UVic will also benefit from an investment of $1 million by the Dennis & Phyllis Washington Foundation in conjunction with Seaspan Shipyards. The investment will support innovative teaching and hybrid electric technology research, led by Dr. Zuomin Dong in mechanical engineering, for cleaner and more environmentally friendly transportation solutions.


“The National Shipbuilding Strategy is playing a vital role in developing our marine industry’s biggest strength—its people. These investments in university research will contribute to Canada’s goal of becoming a true global leader in clean technology, creating well-paying, middle-class jobs for Canadians and helping to meet our climate change goals, while also helping to train the next generation of knowledge workers and innovators in the marine industry.”

The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development.

“Finding alternative methods to generate power, especially for remote, diesel-reliant communities, aligns with our priority of fostering the development of clean technologies. By exploring methods to harness the power of oceans and rivers, the Pacific Regional Institute for Marine Energy Development is working to provide cleaner, more sustainable energy solutions for communities, both in Canada and across the globe.”

Jonathan Wilkinson, Member of Parliament for North Vancouver and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

“As we tackle the many challenges posed by climate change, our researchers are leading the way in sustainable energy research, working closely with governments, industry and community groups to foster clean growth and low-carbon economic development. We’re very grateful to the Government of Canada, the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation and Seaspan for their investments in this vital work, which responds to one of our most significant national and global challenges.”

University of Victoria President Jamie Cassels

“Seaspan Shipyards is proud to partner with the University of Victoria and the Government of Canada in creating a more sustainable future through innovation and cutting-edge technology. The investments announced today will help to create jobs and opportunities in the shipbuilding and marine industries now and in the years to come.”

Brian Carter, President & CEO, Seaspan Shipyards

Quick Facts

  • Funding of $1,498,000 will help create PRIMED’s workspace, computational service platform and delivery of services.

  • Around 190 tidal power sites have been identified off Canada’s coasts with a total estimated capacity of 42,000 MW (total mean annual wave power)—more than 63 per cent of the country’s annual total consumption.

  • Seaspan’s investment was made as part of their Industrial and Regional Benefits Policy obligations associated with the Joint Support Ship program under the National Shipbuilding Strategy. Supporting research and development in clean technology is a key priority of Canada’s Innovation and Skills Plan. 

Associated Links


Ben Stanford
Regional Communications Manager
Western Economic Diversification Canada
Telephone: 604-666-7038

Suzanne Ahearne
University Communication + Marketing
University of Victoria
Victoria, British Columbia
Telephone: 250-721-6139

Nicholas Insley
Shipyards Associate
Seaspan Shipyards
North Vancouver, British Columbia
Telephone: 604-990-1824

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