Investment in clean energy in Canada climbed 88 per cent in 2014 to nearly $11 billion, according to a report from Clean Energy Canada.

Almost half that investment – about $4.5 billion – was in Ontario which adopted a green energy plan in 2009 and has been investing in solar and wind.

But other provinces also moved forward to adopt renewables, including Quebec with $3.9 billion in investment, mainly in wind, British Columbia with $1.34 billion in hydro and Alberta with $930 million in wind investment.

Clean Energy Canada was critical of the federal government for having its "head in the sand" on the shift to renewable energy.

"Canada's provinces — and, to be fair, cities — are presently doing almost all of the heavy lifting on clean energy. Ottawa has been focusing both its domestic and foreign policy efforts on getting Canada's fossil fuels out of the ground and to market," the environmental advocacy group said.

WIND-POWER-EXPANSION

Cattle graze near an array of wind turbines at the McBride Lake East location near Fort Macleod, Alberta. Canada invested close to $11 billion in renewables in 2014. (Adrian Wyld/ Canadian Press)

It praised Ottawa for adopting updated emissions standards for vehicles, but said a more supportive government could help Canada establish itself as a leader in the sector.

"I think Canada's got to get in the game, be a leader. We're looking for leadership from Ottawa, what the new prime minister's going to do on this file," Clean Energy Canada director Merran Smith said in an interview with The Exchange with Amanda Lang.

Smith pointed to President Obama's clean energy initiatives, which are focused on fostering innovation and making America a global leader in the clean-energy race.

"They've put in place policy, their clean power plan, and a federal loan program and that has put them No. 1, at the top in clean energy investment," Smith said.

She said Canada risks being left behind economically unless it moves to a clean energy economy.

Canadian renewable electricity generation capacity grew to 89 GigaWatts, making Canada fourth in the world in generation of clean electricity. Canadian utilities have shut down about 4,600 MegaWatts of coal capacity in the last five years, but about 9,700 megawatts still remain.

Employment in the clean energy industry grew to 26,900 jobs in 2013, the most recent year with figures available, according to the Canadian Clean Technology Industry Report from research firm Analytica.