'Groundbreaking' lab focuses on future of energy in Alberta
Technologies, ideas and innovations on display at showcase event
Ideas and initiatives for transforming Alberta's energy industry were showcased in Calgary on Wednesday afternoon.
The Innovating Alberta's Energy Future Showcase featured work by fellows with the Energy Futures Lab. The lab is an initiative of The Natural Step Canada, a national charity.
Chad Park, chief innovation officer with The Natural Step Canada and director of the Energy Futures Lab, described the lab as "a groundbreaking Alberta-based initiative."
The lab's fellows — leaders, from industry, government, First Nations, academia and other sectors — partner on various projects.
"[The lab] is a forum for collaboration and innovation, so there are innovators and energy leaders from different sectors and different types of organizations who use the lab as a place to try new ideas, to develop prototypes, to find collaborative projects that they can do together," Park said.
Presenters included an entrepreneur turning CO2 emissions into valuable products, a First Nations leader helping to bring renewable energy to his community, and oil executives working to reduce emissions in energy production.
"Clean tech is the enabling technology of 21st century economic development, and it's the largest single area of growth in the global economy," said Nicholas Parker, chairman of Global Acceleration Partners, a pioneer in clean tech venture capital, and a speaker at the event.
"What we really lack is good consumer, investor and policy education," Parker said.
"People have a lot of misunderstandings about where the technology is at today and how it can be adopted and what people want."
Andrew Ference, former captain of the Edmonton Oilers, also spoke at the showcase.
"Having something like this happening in Alberta is extremely important for our province," he said.
"It's a time when I think our province is trying to be innovative, try to look at how do we properly diversify our economy."
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With files from Monty Kruger