Innovation Challenges

We are witnessing a rapid acceleration in the national and global effort to reduce carbon emissions and achieve a net-zero world by 2050. 

For many communities, the question is what do net-zero and bold emission reduction commitments means for them? For others, a transition to a net-zero economy suggests opportunities in new markets and sectors. While these opportunities are big and compelling, they also require support as they emerge as important contributors to our shared prosperity. 

Innovation Challenges identify complex issues that require collaboration and innovation beyond the constraints of single organizations, disciplines, and perspectives. They serve as building blocks of change within the Canadian energy ecosystem.

We bring people together to work on these challenges with a mission to leverage Canada’s assets and innovation capacity to accelerate an inclusive and equitable transition to a prosperous net-zero future. 

Active Innovation Challenges

Financing the Transition to Future Fit Hydrocarbons

How can public policy 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?

Learn more about future-fit hydrocarbons

Alberta’s energy industry faces significant challenges relating to global investment due to the growing emphasis on transition investment opportunities. To address this challenge, we’re exploring opportunities for financing future-fit hydrocarbons – products and industries that build on Canada’s hydrocarbon assets in a way compatible with meeting climate targets such as clean hydrogen, bitumen beyond combustion, battery metals, geothermal energy and carbon capture utilization & storage (CCUS).

Along with an array of partners, we have created and shared a set of guiding criteria that establish a starting point for collaborative future-fit hydrocarbon development for a net-zero world and attract sustainable investment. 

Read more about Financing the Transition to Future Fit Hydrocarbons.

Digital Innovation For Communities in Transition

How might we accelerate collaboration in Alberta’s digital innovation ecosystem to support communities in energy transition?

Learn more about digital innovation

Although there is a strong connection between digital innovation, energy, and climate change, a divide has traditionally existed between innovators working in energy and digital advancements. 

This Innovation Challenge aims to identify and develop collaborative initiatives that unlock technologies, such as machine learning and artificial intelligence, to address energy transition and climate change challenges in communities across Alberta. 

A part of this challenge, our Energy.AI initiatives apply machine learning and artificial intelligence to address emissions challenges with five bold ideas

Learn more about digital innovation and Energy.AI

Rural Community Resilience in a Low-Carbon Future

How can we build near and long-term resilience in Alberta’s rural communities as the world transitions towards a low carbon future?

Learn more about the community resilience challenge

With dramatic changes happening in the energy sector, this challenge focuses on helping rural communities across Alberta to thrive in the transition to a low-carbon future.

By bringing the combined knowledge, skills and networks of the Energy Futures Lab Fellows into rural municipalities and First Nation communities across Alberta, communities can further explore how to navigate opportunities and challenges arising as a result of energy transition and climate change.

Because every community is different, our Roadshows design and deliver a series of workshops tailored to the community’s unique needs, leaving them with a clear path for how they can move from the development of concepts that emerge via the workshops, to enabling action in their local area.

Read more about rural community resilience in a low-carbon future.

Leveraging Energy Transition to Overcome Barriers for Marginalized Communities

How can we leverage today’s energy transition to overcome barriers for entrepreneurs who identify as or work in service of marginalized communities to succeed as the Canadian economy recovers?

Learn more about overcoming barriers for marginalized communities

A growing awareness of social inequality is playing a key role in today’s decision making. In order to ensure a prosperous and inclusive future, Canada’s diversification strategies must embrace diversity, both in terms of the perspectives that shape these strategies and the people or programs they support. 

This innovation challenge is focused on supporting historically marginalized groups such as Indigenous, women, and youth who are actively involved in or being impacted by Alberta’s transition to a clean energy economy. To navigate the global energy transition, we require solutions and spaces that support system-wide change that accounts for the interconnectedness between our social systems and our energy system.

More info about leveraging energy transition to overcome barriers

The most promising solutions identified in response to these Innovation Challenges are further developed and supported within the Energy Futures Lab Impact Studio.