Good afternoon, everyone. I'd like to thank you very much for allowing me to present to the committee. It's great to see there's interest not only in supporting clean tech but also in trying to figure out the more technically complex and business-complex aspects of policy to make things work.
To give you just a little bit of background, my name is Miriam Tuerk. I am an electrical engineer from the University of Waterloo and a serial entrepreneur. Clear Blue Technologies is a small tech start-up company in Toronto, with two other co-founders. What we make is a small box, the size of a Kleenex box, that acts as the brains of an off-grid street light, an off-grid security camera, an off-grid oil and gas pipeline sensor—any sort of device that is managing and controlling mission-critical infrastructure that needs power.
If you think back to 30 years ago, every one of us had a phone line into our house, and maybe even into our bedroom, if we needed phone service. Today, even though we all use a lot of telecom, the last mile of telecom is now mostly wireless. Power systems are doing the same. With the drop in power consumption by going to LED lights or going to digital systems, you can now have a security camera that only needs seven watts continuous, or an oil and gas pipeline sensor to make pipelines secure drawing only three or four or five watts. But it's really key to have those three or four or five watts, and doing it with solar or off-grid instead of all of that cabling and distribution is the technology we're building to enable.
Clear Blue is an early-stage start-up. We're doing about a few million dollars in revenue. We've hired about 30 people in Toronto. We're very pleased and honoured, only two years into the revenue phase of our business, to have customers in 29 countries around the world.
The committee has asked us to talk about the risks to clean-tech adoption, and I have basically three key points I'd like to talk about.
First, we have now moved into what I'll call “wave two” of clean-tech adoption, which means that what's being put out there is more innovative technology. It's not just saying that we're going to have a solar panel or a wind turbine. It's more asking how we can use innovative technologies and new technologies to get clean-tech adoption and to use clean tech everywhere.
The second piece is that you're getting more pervasive adoption. It's not just a project by Ontario Hydro. Every business at every level, every government at every level, is doing clean tech and integrating it. It's covering the entire economy.
Those two things, innovation and pervasive adoption, are a challenge. As with everything, technology change is happening faster and faster. We have a situation where Canada's personality trait in both government and business is that we tend to be very risk-averse to the adoption of new technology. Because we're conservative late adopters, that mentality had less of an impact during wave one of clean tech, but now that we're in wave two, where there is more innovation and things are moving more quickly, the fact that we are late adopters and we're slow adopters starts to really show the difference between how Canada can move forward in the marketplace versus how other countries and other sectors in other regions of the world can move forward. For example, Germany and China are moving much more quickly than we are in wave two of clean tech, in innovation and in adoption.
The last point I would make is that the clean-tech marketplace is happening more out of Europe and in emerging and remote markets, mostly because a lot of the infrastructure is being built in emerging and remote markets. The good news is that Canada has lots and lots of remote markets, so we have expertise and experience that we can share with the world. I think it's key for the government and industry to keep our eye on Europe and emerging markets and less so on the U.S., because the U.S. does not have remote markets that other territories have and they're not focused internationally.
The question that was asked is how we can de-risk what we're trying to do in that market. I think there are three key risks that are the challenge for this committee.
Risk number one is the financial risk that companies and governments face. Risk number two is the performance risk. The third risk, which I think can sometimes be forgotten, is the time risk.
Businesses and municipalities that are very risk-averse tend to ask themselves what will happen if it doesn't work or what will happen if they have to replace it. Keeping this slightly confidential, because I don't want to shoot those people who are trying to move forward, I'll give you an example. The City of Mississauga is currently looking at putting solar off-grid street lights throughout a lot of their parks areas because they don't have cabling entrenching, they are remote, and their power companies are starting to charge for all of that distribution and infrastructure. As they are doing the business case internally, some people want them to include the entire cost of replacing the off-grid solar street lights with grid-tied street lights just in case they don't work. The fear of financial risk—it has to be cheaper, and double-count the cost—and the fear of performance risk are two key examples that we see there.
Another example is that of a first nation in northern Ontario that wants to put street lights across its entire area. It wants them to be solar and off-grid, but the Ministry of Transportation doesn't want to approve this new technology that it doesn't really want to try out.
I will point out to you that by 2020 between 10% and 15% of the world's street lights will be solar powered. If you go to the Middle East, whether it be Saudi Arabia or Qatar, or into Rwanda or Southeast Asia, they're going 100% solar street lights, and yet we would have jurisdictions that say they're not sure they could even do a few on a first nation's area.
The last risk is anything that you bring forward from a policy perspective that adds time to the process because of extra application processes or extra approval processes. Risk to the approval actually slows things down.
There have been many good attempts at putting in place policies that are meant to help, but sometimes they make it more difficult. I will give you the example of the government's process for tenders for demonstration projects. It's such a complicated, long process without a high chance of success that it's not worth the time, and we, as a company, can say just forget it and we'll move forward without it.
Another example is STDC. It's a fantastic avenue, but it is set up for large physical installation demonstration projects. Now that we have wave two of clean tech, in which we're doing innovation on a small level, we don't fit that program.
What are my ideas? First of all, I will say that there is 10,000 times more expertise in the room than what I have about policy or what you should do, so I will defer to the committee on those things. But the key thing is to figure out how you de-risk the financial risk, how you de-risk the performance risk, and how you de-risk the time risk.
I would recommend putting in place simple financial incentives that work in both the public and private sectors. For example, tax credits don't help municipalities or government agencies or first nations or groups like that. Try to do it in a way that involves very simple math. In other words, I either qualify for it and I apply for it and I know I'm going to get it, as I would with SR and ED, for example, versus my having to do an application and not knowing whether I will get it. If I know the formula and I know I'm going to get the tax credit or the financial incentive or the benefit, then I can just move ahead with the project.
Make the definition of a successful project less restrictive. I'll give you an example. In the province of Ontario, Ontario Hydro has a program under which it will pay an incentive for replacing street lights with LED street lights. This is to promote the adoption of clean technology, but they will only pay that back if it's connected to the grid, which has all kinds of non-green energy aspects. If it's replaced with a solar street light that's off-grid, they won't pay the tax benefit.
This is an example of wave one; we're just going to go to LED. Yes, the financial benefit works, but with wave two, where we have more innovative technologies that we want—I encourage it for jobs and new industry and entrepreneurship in the country—the model doesn't fit. Try to create a non-restrictive policy that can be used for future innovations that none of us have even thought about.
In terms of the vehicles for this—and I'm almost done—EDC would be a fantastic vehicle. They provide performance bond guarantees and financial risk guarantees, so you could put it through that process. But make sure you solve the banking problem first. With the banking problem we have, even when you have full EDC support, which we, for example, get for many projects, the banks don't take that into consideration. There's a banking issue with it.
My last recommendation is to make it a simple calculation or qualification, or make it a pre-qualification. If you're going to do a demonstration project, allow the vendor to apply, get approval before they bring the customer to the table, and if they have the approved project, then they can go and find a customer. It's very embarrassing to bring a customer to the table and then not get approved. You're better off not to even bring the customer to the table.
Those are my comments. Hopefully that was not too much information in seven minutes.
I thank you very much, and I have a documentation of what I said which will be forwarded to you.
Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman and honourable committee members.
Thank you for letting Canadian Solar participate in today's committee meeting. My name is Michael Carter. I'm the manager of business development for Canadian Solar's energy group. I'm going to speak about solar energy projects and how we can support increased adoption in the natural resources sector.
Canadian Solar was founded in 2001. We are a global energy provider with successful business subsidiaries in 20 countries and over 9,000 employees worldwide. We were a number one ranked global module supplier in 2016. We have a dedicated Canadian-based project team with development experience in northen Canada and remote communities. We employ the latest solar module inverter and storage technologies in our projects, and integrate with existing infrastructure, such as backup generators and remote diesel systems. We are a leading manufacture of solar PV modules and other solar energy solutions, with over 70 million PV modules shipped to date. We have a nine gigawatt global pipeline of utility-scale projects that we are in the process of developing as well.
Today I want to quickly run through how we look at the questions that were sent to us.
Canadian Solar believes that renewable energy provides environmentally and economically viable energy but is yet to be utilized to its potential in the Canadian natural resources industry. We're working with international mining companies on project development opportunities that include solar and storage technologies.
From our experience, there are various risk components that we see as issues, which hopefully the Government of Canada can assist with. We've broken it down into four major risk areas: project, financial, operational, and environmental. Project risk is the risk to the renewable energy developer. Financial risk is the risk to the lender, which includes the Government of Canada. Operational risk is the risk to the end-user, the actual mining developer or mining resource developer. Environmental risk is obviously the risk to the local environment.
We see the natural resource industry as a commodity-driven business, with success based on variable forward pricing, exploration, operational costs, access to capital, and competition. The renewable energy project risks are partially tied to the success of the natural resource facility. These risks can be minimized through government intervention and support, which can include facilitating offtake agreements with the local utility for generation over the original contract, and the acquisition of the mining or resource product at a price that allows for payment of the electricity PPAs that we might be looking to secure.
The government could also support funding renewable projects for natural resource facilities that are at a late stage, with a visible cash-flow stream and an identified post-production energy need. These could be a community need or end-of-mine-life obligation, such as environmental obligations. We see as being a good fit. Lastly, the government could support the energy projects by backstopping long-term contracts through an insurance or guaranteed-type product, which I'll get to a bit later.
In addition, there's an opportunity where we could take the mining industry and the renewable developers and pair them together. Mines have upfront bonding requirements. Any new mine that's going to be opened up has a closure agreement, which is typically in the form of a bond. It could be upwards of $100 million. In some cases, we're talking hundreds of millions of dollars. We think that maybe there's a way we can tie low-cost, long-term renewable energy electricity sources to ensure that the perpetual obligations of a mine closure are not impacted by the external risks associated with cost increases in fuel and complex equipment, as well as the environmental risks associated with trucking and shipping fuel to these remote sites.
We think that mining companies investing in long-life renewable electricity assets should not only reap the benefits of the long-term secure energy that they're offsetting, but also be rewarded through offsetting the upfront costs associated with bonding requirements for these mines. We think that maybe there's a win-win associated with the potential of encouraging renewable energy developments with new mines.
The risk to the lender, the Canadian government, is in part based on the success of the renewable energy project, but it is also tied to the health of the resource company, the resource itself, and the economic viability of the renewable energy projects.
We think the government can support de-risking by funding these projects directly, especially with resource projects that are at a later stage with a visible cash flow stream and identified post-production energy needs. Those include local community needs, end-of-life operational requirements, and potentially science—i.e., weather stations and other kinds of monitoring facilities—and military interests. So it would be basically having energy centres potentially throughout rural areas. We also think we would recommend the potential reintroduction of ecoENERGY for Renewable Power, a program that was successful in supporting 4,500 megawatts of renewable development in Canada.
Separately, with regard to the financial risk, we think that the government can support or encourage favourable streamlined permitting processes to decrease the high-risk upfront costs and time associated with building both mines and renewable energy projects. We believe that the government can support streamlining interconnection and electrical permitting processes, and decrease the cost of interconnection, to assist with improving project viability. We look at this as maybe coordinating with the various provincial safety authorities as well as engaging local utilities and provincial regulatory bodies to support the goal of adopting more renewables.
With regard to the end-user, national resource companies need to ensure that they have a reliable, firm energy source for continued operations. Historically the intermittent nature of renewable energy dissuaded the utilization of renewable generation as a primary, stand-alone energy source. We see that advancements in technology and decreases in installed costs are allowing for the development of resilient renewable energy systems that enable end-users to meet their normal operational needs even during grid outages.
We believe that the Canadian government can assist in de-risking the operational risk by incentivizing the further development of resilient energy systems. We've had some support for the development of a micro-grid test facility, which we've recently commissioned in Guelph, Ontario. It's one example where that has worked for us. We are actively developing projects in the north and investigating other opportunities to develop the remote micro-grid type of facilities.
For the environment, we see that solar and other renewable energy resources can mitigate the environmental risks and help meet the statutory requirements under the sustainable development act. We believe that solar's locational versatility can allow it to be located in every jurisdiction in Canada. It can be deployed in and around tailings infrastructure and on brownfield lands. It can be easily relocated. Previously developed lands can be remediated to their prior state, if that is so chosen. The components can be recycled and are also permitted for landfill use. That's not the plan, but they are inert and can be put in landfill. However, we feel there's a long-term potential to incorporate reuse programs for renewable components due to their long, useful life. This would be after their contract life.
We see modules still on display in Toronto that are generating power with over 70% efficiency after 40 years. A lot of people look at solar as a 20-year product, but it has value far beyond that life. As a result, we describe it as a societal heritage asset with an ongoing positive terminal value. We believe that the repurposing programs can be incorporated into end-of-life programs to relocate our projects if there's a relocating plan to support local indigenous communities and other communities in the areas.
Turning to my last page, the impact mitigation includes the siting of projects on impacted lands, as I've already said. Separately, we think incorporating renewable energy into existing natural resource projects supports the cumulative environmental net benefit, or is a cumulative environmental net benefit, to a natural resource project.
We believe that solar as well as other technologies improve the environmental footprint from an emissions and polluting offset perspective. They offset costly and potentially disastrous remote fuel transport, which is becoming a larger and larger concern in the north with ice roads not necessarily having the amount of time they need to supply fuel to operations, and supporting electricity needs for long-term water monitoring, treatment, and other compliance-related obligations associated with end-of-life mine closure commitments.
We believe that these potential environmental benefits need to be recognized as positive adders in the natural resource permitting process early on.
How is my time? I've probably run my course.
Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman and honourable committee members. I appreciate this opportunity to add my voice to this very important topic on how to de-risk the adoption of clean technology in Canada's natural resource sector.
After looking at the very impressive list of your witnesses, including those speaking today, I feel that I might be able to provide an alternate view by offering a glimpse into the trenches of the clean technology world. I'm not an academic, but a person who has served his country in our navy, loves to work with his hands, and thrives on incremental changes that improve operations and lives.
I've been immersed in the clean technology world for almost 10 years now. Even though over this period many struggles have occurred, both with family and my company Responsible Energy, the underlying reason for why I keep going has not been affected, which is a desire to protect our environment and our future.
I'll give you a bit of background on Responsible Energy. I founded Responsible Energy in 2007. Since then, we have raised over $3.1 million from the founder, friends, family, angel investors, and grants. With regard to the grants that we've received over this period of time, of course, there's SR and ED, the scientific research and experimental development tax incentive program; IRAP, the industrial research assistance program; and EODP, which is the eastern Ontario development program provided by FedDev. With these funds, we've been able successfully to prove our concept, the scalability of our technology, and multi-patent our clean technology both in Canada and the U.S. We believe that we've created a solution for both the waste management and energy sectors, and we are ready to be commercialized.
As a company, Responsible Energy has worked very hard, with every penny it has received from both investors and government grants. Success is not just about properly managing those funds, but also maximizing every available resource, for example, building our proof of concept in a friend's garage; since 2012, finding a location where we have not had to pay for rent or power; or using materials and equipment from a mothballed facility. I do not exaggerate when I say that we have saved millions in developing our clean technology.
More specifically around de-risking in regard to the federal government, I believe that the federal government does an amazing job of de-risking clean technology ideas, but it falls short on de-risking the implementation. In my terminology, I call it commercialization of clean technology ideas. In order to de-risk the commercialization of clean technology ideas, pre-commercial technologies require capital—bottom line.
To add to that statement, the federal government has been right alongside us every step of the way, ever since I came up with the idea to develop our waste energy solution. From the first time I reached out to IRAP, the federal government has been an amazing partner. With you, we were able to develop quickly and efficiently. Everything seemed to be falling into place, or so it seemed, but as soon as we were ready to commercialize, that is when we hit the commercialization wall hard. We are now currently in the chicken or egg syndrome. Who would be the first to commit funds, even conditional funds? Anyone? The answer that keeps coming back is that it is no one at this point in time.
Our first obvious step was SDTC, because the investment community raves about them. I heard loud and clear from the investment community, “If you can get them onboard, then we will follow.” However, once we had approached SDTC, our first applications were rejected. We received a few comments, such as, “it's too small of a project”, “you're not requesting enough money”, “we're heavily invested in that space”, “it's too early for you—you need to build a larger unit first”.
On our fifth try, our statement of interest was accepted, which made it to the investment committee round, but in the end we got rejected because our funding was not secured.
In parallel during the same period, we talked with BDC's ventures fund. My initial approach four years ago received the response that I should seek out capital in the U.K. To add insult to injury, their clean-tech representative told me last fall that they're no longer investing in clean-tech infrastructure, but are focusing on the IoT, the Internet of things.
I have a wonderful graph here that I unfortunately was not able to get to the committee in time for translation, but it shows the gap, the “commercialization gap”, as I call it. We have friends, family, angels, IRAP, FedDev, SR and ED all on one side, and everything works perfectly right up to when you're ready to commercialize the technology. Unfortunately, the funds are limited on that side of the commercialization gap.
As you move along the commercialization gap, there is a big space, and then, tipping into the commercialization gap, you have SDTC and the BDC ventures fund, which is why I mentioned them previously. They are attempting to help in that gap, but they're not far enough into it.
Then you have industry. Industry has more than enough money to fund this gap. How do we get industry into that gap? Everybody else on the other side seems to be tapped out and taking huge risks.
The graph leads into the next phase, which is how I see clean tech. You have all these industries, but currently clean tech is considered a single sector for all key industries. Clean tech is considered a one-stop shop in the same way that the IT sector was in the late nineties and early 2000s.
For a lot of people, clean tech was considered the second generation of that type of investment. They thought clean tech would do the same sort of thing that the IT world did. Unfortunately, each key industry has unique needs and environmental challenges, and that one language does not work for all. They all have their own individual challenges. Here, I have another pretty picture that you guys didn't get to see, but I've been informed that you'll see it later on this week.
I've come up with a few recommendations that I believe show how to de-risk clean technology investment, because that's my pain right now: the investment side of clean tech.
We need to place the responsibility of protecting our environment where it belongs. We need to require each key industry to be responsible for investing in its own sector's pre-commercial clean technologies. The success or failure of each industry to invest should be a simple thing to monitor and report.
We need to offer a reduction in the required carbon tax payable—of course, once fully implemented—or a tax incentive that is directly related to a company's investment in pre-commercial clean technology. Eligible pre-commercial clean technologies must have previously received funding from a federal, provincial, or municipal government, or an approved agency. You can have some conditions on that money, that incentive.
Also, there is an opportunity to provide additional incentives for private investors in clean technology in focusing on the commercialization gap, such as increased capital gains tax exemptions or providing an easy-to-follow set of rules for flow-through shares. It's worked very well for the mining industry, but everybody's very confused about it when it comes to clean tech.
In conclusion, when it comes to de-risking, I believe the federal government should follow NRC Canada's IRAP model. They are about helping start-ups accelerate the growth of their business through innovation and technology.
Stay on the upfront side. Stay on the idea side.
It is acceptable within IRAP's model that many businesses will not succeed past their funding, but some will carry on to do great things for Canada.
Thank you for the question.
I'll have to respond in English.
If I respond in French, it will take too long.
From a solar perspective, I feel that we are a little stalled right now. We don't have a lot of new development going on in Canada right now. I know that our microgrid test facility, which we have developed in partnership with Guelph Hydro, as well as with support from the Ontario government, is meant to support projects that we're looking at, and we see a lot of opportunity.
The federal government has announced some programs that are looking for development of northern Quebec communities, in Nunavik. We're seeing programs that are trying to understand.... With these microgrid facilities, as it has been explained to me—and I've been fortunate to have recently had a tour of a test centre—every small community really has a lot of intricacies that we have to address. When we have a differing mix and differing supply and load mixtures, there are a lot of technicalities that need to be overcome, addressed, and contemplated, such as when we're adding renewable, intermittent technology to a diesel system.
I believe that we are advancing. We're seeing a lot of advancements in that, but I have to say, from my perspective we are a little bit stalled. While we're seeing a lot of development on the solar elsewhere, a lot of new, innovative ways to develop new projects and to continue to drop the costs for the development of utility-grade solar programs, we're not seeing those lessons in Canada. We're using numbers and information from other countries to try to develop plans for what we can do in Canada. We don't have a lot of our own lessons learned.
We developed a number of projects under the feed-in tariff in Ontario that saw a great degree of growth and expansion. The costs have dropped. Many of my coworkers talk about a $6 or $7 per watt module before my time. That's how we measure it. Now we're hearing future projected costs of 35¢ per watt. These are huge advancements in the cost, getting that cost down and competing on a cost basis with the conventional sources of energy.
Alberta has some programs coming about. It would be nice to participate in the 2025 federal electricity targets and the 2030 targets, to see more opportunity for us to innovate and continue to drive the costs down. Module costs have really come down, and now the question is how we can do the installation more effectively and innovate on those fronts. That's now the low-hanging fruit on the cost side of the equation. That's how I would describe the innovative....
Did I answer your question appropriately?
Certainly in general I do agree with Dr. Desrochers' thought process. Not having been a solar guy my entire life, I certainly have had different perspectives on things. That said, as I mentioned earlier, in the last four or five years we've been talking about the drop in the costs of solar technologies, which continue to come down. Solar is actually competitive with traditional and even non-renewable mixes.
We're talking about various jurisdictions around the world where solar is the lowest-cost energy source. This came from significant government investment, in Europe first, and Ontario was a big supporter of driving those costs down. There is a lot of competition. As it has grown, the market has driven competition. The module prices are continuing to drop from, as I said, $6 a watt down to 35¢ a watt. We are seeing situations here in Canada where we believe we are now the lowest-cost provider in certain circumstances.
I believe when the Government of Ontario first initiated the Ontario Green Energy Act, part of that was to incentivize and create an economy, recognizing that it wasn't a cost-competitive technology. Most quote the 80¢ rates, but there were 40¢ rates for the large industrial projects. Those continued to drop to where now, before the cancellation of the last large renewable procurement program, the prices ran around 15¢, or in that range. That's a very significant drop.
Those are private companies bidding those programs. Those are long-term contracts with an end of life. The government is going to realize, at the end of the 20-year contracts, that they are sitting on an asset that will likely run for another 20 years after that. The government, when going to recontract, can make the case to say, “Look, you have a sunk investment. There is a real value there. We'll give you 5¢ or 10¢ or 15¢ in 20 years' time for another long-term contract.”
I believe it is needed, in the case of solar and other technologies, to get there if we have a goal, which was cleaning the environment and developing a clean, renewable resource. And we did it.
Can I just jump in, if I may?
I have two comments. First, I have just one comment on a data point. We have great difficulty exporting solar panels out of Ontario. We buy solar panels in Ontario from Ontario manufacturers for the North American marketplace, but for the international marketplace the cost is 35% to 45% cheaper for solar sourced out of China for just as good quality, so we still have some struggles here.
I think your question is a very good one, Mark. There is no doubt that there are some technologies that are not going to be successful, but that's part of the statistics. There are some mortgages that are not going to get paid, which doesn't mean that we don't fund mortgages in this country, or provide guarantees from the government for mortgages. We just create a formula that helps us to be successful with it.
I think the important thing to realize is that the government is already funding the most risky stage of new technologies. Your funds into R and D through SR and ED, through IRAP, through a lot of the universities.... I was smiling when you said there was a university professor, and that they're all going after research grants. It has had an impact on our ability to be competitive. It is generally known that in early-stage technology, we are now a competitive marketplace. Toronto, as an example, and the southern Ontario area compete with Silicon Valley and rank in the top five globally on that.
But if you don't follow on with what Gordon talked about, the commercialization stage funding, then you get the great metric on the first phase, but you don't get it on the second. There's no question, how do you do it right? Sometimes no good deed goes unpunished. You establish a program like what the Ontario government has done. I'm sure there are parts that were right; I'm sure there are parts that were wrong, but at least they did something. Doing nothing is the kiss of death.
What I would say is that given where we are today, there has been and continues to be significant investment. There's no question that jobs are moving towards innovation, and we have to help that out. I think that what a lot of us are talking about, even the gentleman from Canadian Solar, Michael, is that everything we're pointing to concerns those commercialization and later-stage pieces, where the risk pieces have already been funded. If you don't fund that last piece, then you're losing the value of what you've got. I think we would suggest that if you can figure out some good policy strategies, you're going to get a triple whammy—not only unleashing the value of what is there today, but also unleashing the value of what's been spent over the last eight to 12 years that's just sitting there to be converted into jobs and other things because it's at that commercialization stage. It's less risky money now for some of those things at a later stage. But you're right that you have to figure it out, you've constantly got to adjust, and you've constantly got to change and be on top of it on a go-forward basis. There's no getting around that.
Thank you very much for the question.
As a company once we got to that big drop, we're now looking for that first entity, whether it's VC or government, to be the first to commit to our moving forward, even with conditions. Nobody wants to be the first person in, and that's the chicken and egg syndrome I mentioned earlier.
Even if the government were to provide and say they will invest or will provide this or that incentive, we still have to do this, this, and this. That's a lot easier than having to go to the market and say, “I have all of this; now are you interested? I think I'll have a better chance of getting the funds I need to move forward.
That's not just within Canada. We are actively searching for funds in the U.S. and overseas. That's what they are looking for also. For us there are a couple of major items left; our permitting process has taken two years. That's Ontario-based, not federal. Usually working with supply agreements is dependent....
Unfortunately, there are a lot of things you would like to be able to do together, but certain things are linear, and financing, getting that first one in is the first step, and then you can branch out, but until you get that one person, you're still in the linear form.