The Energy Futures Lab (EFL) has announced the names of the Energy Futures Lab Fellows – 40 influencers from industry, NGOs, government, academia, and First Nations communities across Alberta, who will work together over the next three years to help accelerate the transition to a sustainable, resilient energy system. These leaders have come together because they believe that how we tackle the interconnected issues of climate change, energy security and sustainable development is key to Alberta’s future prosperity.
On Sunday, Premier Rachel Notley outlined a vision in which Alberta becomes “one of the world’s most progressive and forward-looking energy producers.” In the wake of the Government of Alberta’s historic announcement of its Climate Leadership Plan it is clear that Albertans are ready to step beyond polarized debates and be part of a constructive process to shape the future.
“Alberta’s energy system requires us to be bold, fearless leaders; to collaborate in ways we never thought possible; to be deliberate storytellers; and be balanced while considering the climate, people, and economics.”
– Megan Zimmerman, Energy Futures Lab Fellow and Business Development Manager of Renewable Energy & Technology at Calgary Economic Development
“The future is never just a continuation of the past. This is especially true for the future of our energy system,” says Lab Director, Chad Park, “There are great implications for Alberta. We can either help shape the future or cope with it.” Underlying the Energy Futures Lab is a shared conviction that Alberta’s strengths and assets in today’s energy system can serve as a platform for innovation and leadership in the transition to the energy system that the future requires of us.
Designed and convened by The Natural Step Canada, the Suncor Energy Foundation, the Banff Centre, and the Pembina Institute, the EFL brings together a wide diversity of experiences and perspectives from across Alberta’s energy system. The Fellows were selected based on their ability to collaborate, experiment, act as agents of change in a range of networks across the province, and for their knowledge, achievements and commitment to shaping Alberta’s energy future. Anticipated outcomes include new partnerships, business models, policy and public engagement activities.
The Lab serves as a platform for ongoing experimentation and innovation that will help align and amplify existing efforts on energy transition across the province. By engaging a wide range of stakeholders and the public, the Lab will support the targets outlined in the Climate Leadership Plan including the phase-out of pollution caused by burning coal, transition to renewable energy, adaptation to carbon pricing, methane emissions reduction and remaining within the overall oil sands emission limit. This creative solution space will enable experimentation, prototyping, and scaling of new and existing initiatives to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon energy future.
Over the course of the next year, the fellows will engage in a series of workshops, learning journeys and collaborative activities that will be characterized by tough conversations that challenge basic assumptions and reveal root causes of current challenges. On the approach needed for the transition to a sustainable energy system, Megan Zimmerman, EFL Fellow and Business Development Manager of Renewable Energy & Technology at Calgary Economic Development states, “Alberta’s energy system requires us to be bold, fearless leaders; to collaborate in ways we never thought possible; to be deliberate storytellers; and be balanced while considering the climate, people, and economics.”
For the two years to follow, the Lab will coordinate action across a broad range of organizations and the public. Each fellow belongs to a company, community group, university, government, or not-for-profit organization that has expressed a commitment to experiment and innovate with The Energy Futures Lab. By engaging their organizations and the broader Alberta public in this important dialogue about Alberta’s future, the fellows’ ideas, discoveries and solutions will have a ripple effect. The aim is to engage wider audiences, foster new leaders, and build a pool of collaborators and diverse stakeholders to help Alberta prepare for and shape the future.
We encourage all Albertans to follow us and join in this endeavour. To learn more and stay updated, please visit the website energyfutureslab.com and register for the newsletter energyfutureslab.com/newsletter.