An Energized 2017 with EFL Fellows!

The year started off on a high note at the Energy Futures Lab (EFL). On February 1 & 2, EFL Fellows reconnected in Red Deer for a 1.5-day workshop. This workshop was an opportunity for current and new Fellows to meet for the first time. It was also a timely occasion to collectively evaluate changes in the energy system, to review cultural shifts in the surrounding environment and to further advance Fellow-driven initiatives.

“with my Tribe’s environmental stewardship initiatives and with me being a Fellow of the EFL, this has created a resource that I have come to rely on for inspiration, networking, information and creating new friendships.”

– Desmond Bull

 

On the first evening, the 2016 Fellows exchanged ideas around how the EFL can broaden its reach and amplify its collective voice in 2017; what is the leadership required to do so? The following day focused on welcoming and connecting the new Fellows to the EFL community, planning for 2017, advancing lab initiatives and preparing for the lab’s milestone event: Innovating Alberta’s Energy Future – Energy Futures Lab Showcase. On April 19, this public event will showcase the best of the EFL: Fellows presenting bold initiatives linked to the EFL Innovation Pathways. Fellow Desmond Bull emphasized that,

“with my Tribe’s environmental stewardship initiatives and with me being a Fellow of the EFL, this has created a resource that I have come to rely on for inspiration, networking, information and creating new friendships.”

Fellow Bruce Edgelow highlighted that the workshop was

“an amazing, energetic time in Red Deer – reconnecting and meeting 11 new Fellows. I’m looking forward to really moving the needle for the Lab in 2017.”

In order to move the needle and make an impact, the EFL and its Fellows recognize the need to reach broader networks, showcase examples of where a ‘fit for the future’ energy system is being created and continue to host tough conversations amongst diverse perspectives. Amidst the increasing polarization of some energy issues, the EFL seeks to amplify the voice of the many in the middle, and continue to develop collaborative projects that demonstrate this ‘radical middle’ way forward.

In Red Deer, Fellows also had the chance to reconvene as teams and continue to advance their initiatives. For instance, the 360 Policy Lab initiative from the Policy Innovation Pathway is moving forward a pilot of the EFL as a platform for government organizations to test and gather feedback from diverse Fellows on potential new policies. The Geothermal Energy from Oil and Gas Infrastructure initiative from the Deployment of Distributed Renewables Pathway is leveraging Albertan engineering and geological expertise to reinvigorate wells with marginal economic value, piloting initially at the Leduc #1 Living Energy project to convert an old well into a geothermal heat source. AirLabs, an initiative from the Carbon Utilization Pathway, is moving an initial web prototype forward so the team can begin user testing the ability of this sharing economy solution to facilitate access to lab time for Albertan entrepreneurs.

With 12 newly-recruited Fellows joining 35 Fellows from 2016, the EFL is refreshed, energized, and committed to more action in 2017. New applications to the EFL’s Fellowship will be accepted until March 7.

Alex Nnamonu was energized by the new Fellows and their immediate contributions to the Lab,

“The workshop in Red Deer was short and intense, but what stood out for me the most was the new Fellows…Each came with energy, passion and really rounded out an already diverse group. I have optimism for the future of our ongoing exploration, intervention and influence.”

Maja Veljkovic, one of the new Fellows, was also inspired by the day:

“I was inspired and energized by the EFL intention to contribute to Alberta’s leadership of the Canadian energy systems for tomorrow – a day of inspiration, fun, achievements!”

The Fellows plan to meet again in the spring for another productive and energetic workshop. A number of Fellows will be presenting their initiatives and work at Innovating Alberta’s Energy Future – Energy Futures Lab Showcase on April 19. Mark your calendars and join us!

Alison Cretney manages the Energy Futures Lab and is Director, Knowledge and Design at the Natural Step Canada.