This is a review of the Global Clean Energy Congress and Exhibition that took place in November in Calgary AB Canada. This was a groundbreaking conference. Find out why by reading further and downloading the full Congress Report.
Day 1 - Opening Remarks
“Revolutions are about confidence, leadership and courage not fear. We must push back the barriers and listen with an open mind. Innovation and ingenuity can achieve outstanding results. We are here because clean energy matters to everyone. Once we define what we mean by that, we need a strategy to get there,” said Dr. David Lewin, Vice Chair of the Climate Change and Emissions Management Corporation (CCEMC). Lewin set a positive tone and shared this recurring theme at the Opening Ceremony of the inaugural Global Clean Energy Congress and Exhibition held at Stampede park in Calgary AB in November of 2011.
The very successful informative event organized by dmg events and WADE Canada, featured keynote speakers, inventors, educators, scientists and investors. Sessions were held on cleaner hydrocarbons, energy efficiencies, transportation, nuclear, hydrogen, onsite generation, general fusion and more. Participants at the event explored the possibilities of new and future technologies, real-world applications of forward-thinking initiatives, and strategies for a successful integration. Approximately 3,000 visitors, 400 delegates and over 100 exhibiting companies were in attendance.
Other highlights of the conference were Networking Receptions, Innovative Stations, an Innovative Playground, a Dealmakers’ Lounge and a Presentation Theatre that provided insight on technology and investment avenues for clean energy initiatives.
First day highlights began with NRGreen Power and General Electric announcing a new clean energy project where the first global application of the latest emissions free energy generation is underway. This project will use GE’s proprietary ORegen™ System, the latest in Organic Rankin Cycle technology, which generates electricity through the use of waste heat at compressor stations and will be installed at Alliance Pipeline’s Windfall Compressor Station near Whitecourt, Alberta.
Also, Elyse Allan, President and CEO of GE Canada, announced that a new clean energy innovation centre would open in Calgary by spring of 2012. The centre will showcase GE’s technology innovations and allow others across Canada to collaborate. Calgary, Alberta, and Canada will definitely play a role in clean energy innovation.
Anouk Kendall, President of WADE Canada and World Alliance for Decentralized Energy, had a lot to say about the direction of energy efficiency and onsite generation when the conference began. She shared her views, as did others, during the first session World Leaders thoughts on the Clean Energy Revolution. “We need to increase the pace of progress by bridging the gap between market opportunities and optimum technology solutions. Understanding the clean energy market potential and raising awareness of the investment opportunities are critical.”
Keynote Speaker, Jeremy Rifkin
Keynote Speaker Jeremy Rifkin, leading expert on workforce, energy, and the environment, spoke via Skype to the audience about the intricacies of this Clean Energy Revolution. His knowledge was impressive, his speech riveting, as he defined the essence of this new revolution. The “great economic earthquake” was due to the high price of oil that affected many facets of our lives.
“We are on the cusp of a third energy/communication revolution that will bring in a new world in the next 40 years. We need a new economic vision of the world. It has to be practical. We have to be off all carbon based fuels by 2040 if we want a sustainable future.” He talked of how energy and communication revolutions converge. Fossil fuels will never be cheap again and since the whole infrastructure is based on carbon, it is crumbling fast. Rifkin added, “We have enough renewable energy to supply us until kingdom come.”
There were five key points that Rifkin stressed that would create this sustainable future:
• Like the European Union, we should have a mandate in every community to use renewable energy, at least 20% or more.
• How we collect renewable energy is important especially since they differ in each region.
• Worldwide transport of energy – turn every building into a micro home where it is energy efficient which will create thousands of jobs.
• We will produce our own energy and share it worldwide through an Energy Internet. Storage technology will solve the problem when the sun isn’t shining.
• Transportation issues such as cost and availability will be solved through electric cars and hydrogen fuel cell technology.
This economic revolution is essentially the “energization revolution of the people” and this new vision will create a new democratic economy. Changing the infrastructure is crucial, as it requires a shift in consciousness. We will produce our own energy and share it worldwide through an Energy Internet. Storage technology will solve the problem when the sun isn’t shining.
Energy companies will be running the Energy Internet. “We cannot separate ourselves from the rhythms of nature. Energy becomes part of us again when we integrate it. Everything we do, we leave an ecological footprint. I know of no other moment in history like this. We have to believe we can do it. And most important we have to believe we have the imagination to do it.”
Although Rifkin concluded that this is a huge generational shift, it is important to keep the existing infrastructure alive until the sustainable energy infrastructure is in place the next thirty years. He called the emerging shift of the new energy revolution democratic, sustainable, and practical. “Power companies can initiate the shift or else they will die.” He suggested that we have to tell a story and lead quickly in the next thirty years and added, “Are we so short sighted that we must have faith in fossil fuels or do we have the foresight to use renewables. Who will be better off, those communities using renewables or those using carbon based fuels?”
A sustainable future will lead to millions of jobs that are sorely needed all over the globe. The future seeds must be planted now for a brighter future because this very unique and unprecedented shift is being propelled forward by the collective consciousness of the people.
Keynote Luncheon Speaker, Elyse Allan, President and CEO of GE Canada
Elyse Allan, President and CEO of GE Canada gave the Keynote Luncheon speech on the first day about Driving Innovation and Growth. She said the “tradeoff” between the environment and economics is a falsehood, admitting that clean solutions can save money and stimulate growth. Allan presented GE’s Ecomagination Challenge where ideas are created through collaboration, innovation, and cooperation that are part of creating a new infrastructure for an eco-friendly energy future.
The afternoon was filled with a wide variety of informative seminars on clean energy initiatives. One highlight was the seminar Transforming Canada’s Forestry Sector – Bio-energy and Bio-products facilitated by Catherine Cobden, Vice President, Economics and Regulatory Affairs for the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC). The Association received their certification in 2001.
The rivalry that once existed with the environmentalists turned into a positive collaborative business relationship that led to a carbon neutral commitment by 2007 and the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement by 2010. No longer is it an “us versus them” mentality for these two groups and it has definitely paid off. Canada’s forestry sector had annual revenues of $57 billion in 2010 and it is projected to reach an estimated $200 billion by 2015. Embracing the concept of sustainability has positively ignited new opportunities for the Canadian forestry industry.
Day 2 - Opening Keynote, Dr. Ted Morton, Minister of Energy, Government of Alberta
On the second day of the conference, the Opening Keynote was given by The Honourable Dr. Ted Morton, Minister of Energy, Government of Alberta. Mayor of Calgary Naheed Nenshi was also in attendance. Morton spoke about the bio-energy renewable fuel standard credit program. With environmental targets and a strategy in place, Alberta can reduce 5 tons of emissions in a few years. For large emitters, greenhouse gas emissions targets will be set. If a target is missed, the company or organization will have to pay a penalty that will go into the Clean Energy Fund. Part of the money from the fund has already gone to projects that reduce emissions.
The Virgin Earth Challenge Presentation
Next, Director Dr. Alan Knight facilitated the Virgin Earth Challenge session. Calgary was chosen to present the Virgin Earth Challenge because of the entrepreneurial spirit here, especially where fiscal management and engineering is concerned which makes Calgary a perfect place to do business.
The purpose of the Challenge is to establish a safe technology and business to capture carbon from thin air. The Canadian company that made the cut was Carbon Engineering led by David Keith. After a thorough technical review process, the 11 leading organizations are: Biochar Solutions (US); Biorecro (Sweden); Black Carbon (Denmark); Carbon Engineering (Canada); Climeworks (Switzerland); Coaway (US); Full Circle Biochar (US); Global Thermostat (US); Kilimanjaro Energy (US); Smart Stones (Netherlands) and The Savory Institute (US). These organizations bring expertise and solutions from a broad range of areas that includes air capture, biochar, bio-energy with carbon capture and storage, enhanced weathering on land, and land management.
Dr. Alan Knight concluded, “What started as a competition will end in an international collaboration with these 11 companies.”
Day 3 - Opening Keynote, Ian Goldin, Director, Visionary & Economist of Oxford University
The Opening Keynote speaker on the third day was Ian Goldin, Director, Visionary & Economist of Oxford University. “The future of clean energy is the future of the world. There is a level of connectivity like no other the world has ever seen. I believe this is just the beginning of this renaissance. The measures of restrictiveness are going down rapidly while the measures of openness are increasing.” Goldin added, “It is a battle of ideas. This is about putting science together with finance.”
He praised Alberta for its innovation. “The technologies being researched and implemented here in Alberta are remarkable.” He concluded that in the future, “politicians and CEOs will be followers and driven by the people, the consumers.”
Global Report – Energy Supply and Demand for 2050; Perspectives from Africa & China
Perspectives from Africa and China were given by: Wisdom Ahiataku-Togobo, Director, Renewable Energy, Ministry of Energy, Ghana, and Yande Dai, National Development and Reform Commission, Deputy Director of the Energy Research Institute in China. Both countries will be investing heavily in renewable energy in the future. Currently, China has set four renewable energy records. They have the world’s fastest wind power capacity. China’s medium and long term social and economic goals are to build a well off society by 2020. Therefore, a new target is expected to raise renewable energy productivity by 2020 and the government of China will invest heavily in this industry. However, “China will need to double energy consumption by 2050 to achieve their economic development goals,” said Dai.
Adaption and Financing Mechanisms: Navigating our business through the Revolution Part 1
The morning continued with Global Activity – Now and in the next 12 months facilitated by Michel DI Capua, Head of US Analysis, Bloomberg New Energy Finance. According to DI Capua, alternative energy investing is now reaching levels of fossil fuel investing and in 2011 there is grid parity. The cost of capital to fund renewables has been more accepted and it has improved. Challenges for the coming year begin in Europe and the US will face another challenge next year.
The North America – Now and in the next 12 months session was covered by Roger Straathof, VP Commercial Financial and Energy Services, RBC Royal Bank. “This conference is all about energy and technologies driving it,” said Straathof.
There is a focus on investment trends in Canada where 2.4 billion dollars is committed to the environmental industry. The TSX is a major player on the renewable front with very active trading. There is a 188% market cap on the TSX and TSXV for clean energy with 131 companies and 6 new listings to date. Among the top 10 clean energy financings in the last 12 months, wind is leading the way. RBC does have resources to help start ups in the energy sector.
Canada’s future in clean technology is very bright and is the place to invest because of the country’s excellent banking system. There is strong support on the federal and provincial levels. The Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin or the WCS Basin is the new Silicon Valley of the north. Technology is being used to improve water use and reduce emissions.
Keynote Luncheon Speaker, Irene Lewis, President and CEO, SAIT Polytechnic
The last Keynote Luncheon presenter was Irene Lewis, President and CEO, SAIT Polytechnic who presented the topic Skills for a Sustainable Future: The Polytechnic Role in Preparing a Clean Energy workforce.
Presently, SAIT is involved in inventing a more energy efficient windmill system that will minimize the undesirable effects like noise and air currents. The results have been excellent so far.
“The new generation wants to improve the lives of those around them. Polytechnics will make a huge difference by collaborating with industry and giving back to communities. It shifts the traditional value of this Polytechnic experience. Partnerships and collaboration is the key,” said Irene Lewis. SAIT’s commitment to education is reflected in the new Trades and Technology Complex being built which is a Net Zero eco-designed facility. This 20,000 square foot building will supply space to 8,000 students.
SAIT offers an Energy Asset Management Diploma. Applied Research is based on the industry needs and partners looking for help. Lewis explains the benefits of a practical education. “It is not solely theoretical. It is practical. It is innovation literacy. It has been very successful as it accelerates the innovation agenda.”
As Calgary, Alberta, and Canada prepare to become clean energy leaders on the global stage, Anouk Kendall, President of WADE Canada, summarized the events and collaboration at this inaugural Global Clean Energy Congress and Exhibition while offering hope for our collective future. “What brings us together at the Global Clean Energy Congress is our common interest in the production, management and storage of clean energy and its economic diversification potential. What keeps us together are trusting relationships built on open and honest discussion and realistic expectations as we navigate through the clean energy revolution.”
Note: For a more detailed 12 page report that also covers some of the seminars at the Global Clean Energy Congress and Exhibition, click here for the PDF.