Cash infusion to support charging and hydrogen refuelling

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by Emily Atkins

The Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) has launched a $500 million zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) Charging and Hydrogen Refuelling Infrastructure Initiative (CHRI).

The goals of the initiative are to reduce transportation sector greenhouse gas emissions by accelerating the private sector’s rollout of large-scale ZEV chargers and hydrogen refuelling stations, spur the market for private investment and support economic opportunities.

The availability of public charging and refuelling infrastructure is a recognized barrier to ZEV adoption across Canada. As of August 2022, there were approximately 22,000 public chargers and six hydrogen refuelling stations installed in Canada, which is significantly less than the forecasted needs to support ZEV adoption.

The CIB’s expanded mandate to invest $500 million through the CHRI was first announced in April 2022 as part of Canada’s 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan and the federal budget. Natural Resources Canada also received an additional $400 million for its Zero-Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program (ZEVIP).

The two programs will be accessed through a single federal window, with proposals that satisfy the following criteria directed to the CIB for consideration:

  • Large-scale implementations (multiple locations, total capital costs more than $10 million)
  • Delivered by private-sector proponents
  • Revenue generating

The CHRI will address uncertainty in the rate and pace of ZEV adoption, and therefore infrastructure utilization, which is a barrier to significant investment in charging and refuelling infrastructure by the private sector.

Under the initiative:

  • The CIB will share utilization risk by aligning financing repayment with usage levels.
  • Financing will include several features to encourage earlier and wider implementation of charging and refuelling infrastructure.
  • In consideration for sharing utilization risk, the CIB will benefit from upside participation in the form of increased interest rates in circumstances where utilization levels exceed expectations.