Future-Fit Hydrocarbons


Ambition: Collectively explore how public policy can help attract greater investment into the innovation and infrastructure for “future-fit hydrocarbons”, in light of global investors’ increasing concern with climate change and growing appetite for low-emissions/transition oriented opportunities.

Sustainability, both in terms of the environment and industry longevity is on the minds of oil and gas leaders around the world. The Energy Futures Policy Collaborative is a new and exciting initiative developed by the Max Bell Foundation and the Energy Futures Lab to explore how Alberta and Canada can harness its existing hydrocarbon resources, assets, and expertise to build the clean economy of the future. This is a two-year project that aims to help policy leaders respond to the opportunities and challenges that face future investment and accompany rapid changes and disruptions in energy systems.

The policy collaborative will address this challenge by:

  • Leveraging specialized experience and expertise in the areas of policy research; economic analysis; technology pathways; sustainability; social innovation; public, stakeholder and business engagement; and federal and provincial government relations.
  • Fostering collaboration between diverse perspectives resulting in creative solutions that can be applied in complex, dynamic conditions.
  • Increasing the capacity of policy leaders to understand cross-cutting policy opportunities and challenges related to future-fit hydrocarbons.
  • Field-testing promising solutions and pathways with stakeholders to maximize utility and impact.
  • Advising on government policy mechanisms that may be used to ‘crowd’, incentivize, and accelerate capital attraction into Alberta’s innovation space.
  • Highlighting alignment opportunities between federal and provincial policy makers on an issue that has proven to be very contentious so far.

We know the time is right because:

  • While the oil and gas industry has experienced price collapse before, the depth and uncertain duration of the Covid-19 crisis is accelerating entry into a new era for the industry.
  • There is no shortage of ideas for how to carve a path forward – The technologies and innovations required to build a sustainable energy future while still maximizing the value of existing assets and resources already exist.
  • While Alberta’s energy industry continues to face challenges related to sustainable investment, there is an opportunity to reframe the conversation and turn adversity into new competitive advantages.
  • The recent economic downturn has highlighted the urgent need for provincial and federal policy to help maintain Alberta as an attractive destination for capital and investment.

Initiative Status

Year one of this project will focus on the development of recommendation and will cover four distinct phases of work:

  • Discover (June 2020 – October 2020): Map out the relevant playing field for the challenge. This is an intelligence gathering expedition where the objective is to identify and understand – not just assume – the relevant variables underlying the problem and the range of potential solutions.
  • Define (November 2020 – December 2020): Redefine and specify the challenge utilizing insights from the previous stage. The objective here is to generate a shared vision of success and the right problems and goals where we should focus policy efforts.
  • Develop (Fall 2020 – March 2021): Generate a broad array of potential solutions and policy options in response to the challenge. This includes exploring, validating, and collectively identifying the most promising ideas and policy interventions.
  • Deliver (March 2021 – June 2021): Field test out different solutions at a small-scale, rejecting some and prioritizing others. This is key for further assessing the impact and value of potential recommendations.


‘Working Visibly’ is a foundational principle grounding the work of the Energy Futures Policy Collaborative. It is our view that making our approach and learnings visible as the work evolves helps grow the conversation and bridge connection with others. In this spirit, our members are sharing their learnings and perspectives on key topics of interest for the EFPC via an ongoing series of posts. You can access these posts by visiting the Energy Futures Lab’s Medium Page.

Collaborative partners

The Collaborative consists of organizational partners whose missions are well aligned with this policy focus and who are committed to the project’s goals and success.

  • Energy Futures Lab is a collaborative network of partners and innovators working together to accelerate the transition to an energy system that is fit for the future, hosted by The Natural Step Canada.
  • Max Bell Foundation is a Canadian philanthropic foundation that supports and encourages the development of forward looking innovations that impact public policies and practices with an emphasis on health and wellness, education, and the environment
  • Smart Prosperity Institute is a national research network and policy think tank that delivers world class research to advance practical policies and market solutions for a stronger cleaner economy
  • Canada West Foundation is an independent, non-partisan public policy think tank that provides evidence-based research and commentary for tough policy challenges facing the West and Canada as a whole
  • Emissions Reductions Alberta is an arms-length public organization that works with government, industry and innovators to accelerate the development and adoption of innovative technology solutions that reduce GHG emission and create competitive industries in Alberta
  • The Business Council of Alberta is a non-partisan, not-for-profit for purpose organization that harnesses the power of thriving business to deliver policy, advocacy and action that increase the economic and social prosperity of Albertans

For questions or inquiries please contact Keren Perla:

Keren Perla
Director, Energy Futures Policy Collaborative