The Issue: Communities and regions across Alberta are wrestling with how to meet low-carbon and energy transition goals while ensuring access to safe and reliable energy.
The Opportunity: Technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and blockchain can be harnessed to support communities in the transition to a low-emissions future.
Response to the Innovation Challenge: A collaborative platform known as Energy.AI was created to gather diverse groups of stakeholders who share a desire to collaboratively unlock digital innovation solutions in service of energy transition.
Many communities and regions across Alberta are considering their role in the global energy transition and developing plans and strategies to meet low carbon goals while still providing safe and reliable energy.
These communities understand that digital innovation will offer an important solutions space in the global response to climate change and energy transition, but have yet to identify how this kind of innovation might benefit them in the transition to net-zero. By digital innovation, the Energy Futures Lab is referring to how people can leverage new digital technologies to solve existing challenges such as those faced by communities as they transition to a low-emissions future. These new technologies include, but are not limited to, machine learning, artificial intelligence and blockchain.
This Innovation Challenge focuses on identifying how digital technologies can be leveraged to support Alberta communities being impacted by the energy transition.
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. As a result of this disconnect, many of these innovators have struggled to collaborate in an effective way. Highlighting the need to bridge these two fields, 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.
This challenge is guided by the following question: How might we accelerate collaboration in Alberta’s digital innovation ecosystem to support communities in the energy transition?
In response to this Innovation Challenge, identified by Energy Futures Lab Fellows and Partners, the Energy Futures Lab has created a collaborative platform to gather digital, energy, and community stakeholders who share a desire to work together to unlock digital innovation solutions in service of energy transition. The platform, developed by the Energy Futures Lab with the support of the RBC Foundation, is referred to as Energy.AI.
Each year, stakeholders involved in Energy.AI work to identify a shared focus to which they will apply the following approach:
Problems Workshop: In this workshop, participants explore energy transition challenges and opportunities and work to identify common and important problems that could be solved using digital innovation. These problem areas tend to be social in nature, and emphasize a need for collaboration, shared responsibility, and equity in energy transition.
System Mapping: System mapping is an exercise used to deep dive into identified problem areas to explore relationships between system players and leverage points, revealing the complexity of our current system and the nature of social innovation.
Ideas Workshop: In this workshop, participants identify fundamental system changes needed in today’s world, and then brainstorm and prioritize innovative and collaborative ideas to address these system needs.
Initiatives Workshop: In this workshop, participants work to advance the most promising digital and social innovation opportunities while further building connections and awareness of the ecosystem in which they’re working. After these workshops, participants continue to test, refine and launch the ideas with the support of a larger community of collaborators.
The initiation and successful completion of the Blockchain for Community Aggregation of Offsets project to test and refine a blockchain system to provide additional revenues for small rural renewable energy producers.
Past workshops and reports:
The 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. Our work is powered by The Natural Step Canada. Energy.AI is made possible by the generous support of the RBC Foundation’s Tech for Nature program.
For questions or inquiries please contact:
Lead, Energy.AI, Energy Futures Lab