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

Alberta’s Electricity Future

How can we collectively build a vision for a net-zero aligned electricity system in Alberta and deliver on actions towards realizing it?

Learn more about Alberta's Electricity Future

To transition to a net-zero zero society, electricity will play a fundamental role. We need to reduce emissions of generation sources, electrify transportation and heating, and utilize the functionality and benefits of an evolving grid and consumer.

The nature of Alberta’s competitive and regulated electricity environment means that each entity has different drivers for investments and actions towards a net-zero electricity system.

Without a clear vision of how to tackle net-zero electricity in Alberta, certain areas of the sector are experiencing unprecedented pace of change while other areas are seeing slow and under-realized progress. We also see confused and disgruntled consumers, and uncertainty in the market about what the future will look like.

From governments to industry to consumers, everyone has a role to play in achieving a net-zero future. Aligned leaders can be a powerful voice for influencing the future of electricity in our province; driving actions that deliver the most effective outcomes. Acting together amplifies our chance of success, compared with each of us acting independently.

More info about building a vision and action plan for Alberta’s Electricity Future

View presentation from our November 2022 Showcase

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.


View presentation  from our November 2022 Showcase

Past 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 explored 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 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.


View presentation  from our November 2022 Showcase

Digital Innovation for Net-Zero Buildings

How might we accelerate collaboration in Alberta’s digital innovation ecosystem to support emissions reduction and energy efficiency in buildings?

Learn more about digital innovation

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

This Innovation Challenge aimed to identify and develop collaborative initiatives that could unlock technologies, such as machine learning and artificial intelligence, to address energy transition and climate change challenges in communities across Alberta, especially as they related to energy used in buildings. 

Learn more about digital innovation for net-zero buildings


View presentation  from our November 2022 Showcase