Bright ideas

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”left” margin_bottom=”20″][mk_dropcaps style=”simple-style”]C[/mk_dropcaps]anada’s ability to innovate in the energy sector will be a key measure of its success in the global energy system. But is there an innovative culture at work domestically and, if so, how does it play out in the energy sector?[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”left” margin_bottom=”0″]These are some of the questions we asked ourselves in developing the content for this issue of Energy Exchange. Given our holistic perspective of energy, we looked for examples of innovation in myriad places in the energy system from incubation and production to commercialization and consumption. What we found is cause for both optimism and introspection.

Innovation is often characterized as transformative or disruptive. Noted thinker and author Arnulf Grübler (see “System overhaul”) identifies two disruptive innovations of global significance in energy systems, namely from biomass to coal-fired steam engines and from steam power to petroleum and other modern fuels. Grübler predicts that the next transformation will be driven not by the producers of energy, but rather by its consumers.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][mk_image src=”” image_width=”800″ image_height=”350″ crop=”false” lightbox=”false” frame_style=”simple” target=”_self” title=”Ellen Pekilis, executive director, Energy Exchange” desc=”PHOTO: DAVE STARRETT/CANADIAN GEOGRAPHIC” caption_location=”outside-image” align=”left” margin_bottom=”0″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”left” margin_bottom=”0″]Community-driven innovation is already underway as evidenced by the Okikendawt Hydroelectric Project of Ontario’s Dokis First Nation, recipient of the 2014 Pollution Probe Award (see “Power to the people”). The project on the French River is a sterling example of an innovative early stage community engagement process that aligned local vision and values with current technology.

A look at technological innovation in Asia (see Powering change in Asia”) helps provide perspective on the difficulties of driving focused innovation in Canada. Even as coal use rises in Asia, there are also efforts to drive energy innovation. These include decentralized power systems, using government policy to promote uptake in renewables and developing alternative nuclear technology with a reduced waste burden.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][mk_blockquote style=”line-style” font_family=”none” text_size=”16″ align=”left”]

The country needs a culture of innovation that places a higher value on risk-taking.

[/mk_blockquote][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”left” margin_bottom=”0″]Insular thinking will not bear fruit and innovative solutions result from collaboration. One example of innovation in inter-company collaboration is Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance, a consortium of companies that pools funding, human resources and intellectual property to tackle sector-wide issues. This unique made-in-Canada model is attracting worldwide attention.

This focus on collaboration as a catalyst for innovation speaks to the country’s need for a culture of innovation. Collaborative open source approaches are changing the face of innovation across the energy community. Many of today’s energy innovators focus on the benefits of collaboration rather than enforceable patent rights (see “Open innovation”).

The country needs a culture of innovation that places a higher value on confidence, risk-taking and investment. Organizations featured in this issue that are forging sturdy linkages between innovation and commercialization include Sustainable Development Technology Canada and the Advanced Energy Centre at MaRS, a Toronto-based innovation centre.

Overcoming risk aversion to investment in renewables may require the convergence of a range of factors, including increased personal responsibility for energy usage and public investment. Our panel of experts (see “The energy innovation panel”) point to California and Massachusetts as jurisdictions we can learn from, where public policy focusing on regional energy systems has resulted in both uptake of renewables and green-tech job creation.

The primary mission of Energy Exchange is to ignite discussion and to strengthen the energy literacy of Canadians. We dedicate the third issue of our magazine to innovation; a topic that is so critical and compelling that it begs our attention. At its most basic, innovation is driven by curiosity. We trust this issue of Energy Exchange will spark yours. [mk_font_icons icon=”icon-stop” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none”][/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][mk_custom_box border_width=”1″ bg_color=”#e7fafd” bg_position=”left top” bg_repeat=”repeat” bg_stretch=”false” padding_vertical=”30″ padding_horizental=”20″ margin_bottom=”10″ min_height=”100″][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/4″][mk_image src=”” image_width=”800″ image_height=”350″ crop=”false” lightbox=”false” frame_style=”simple” target=”_self” caption_location=”inside-image” align=”left” margin_bottom=”10″][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/4″][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/4″][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/4″][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/1″][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”left” margin_bottom=”0″]Energy Exchange is a strategic, collaborative national scale initiative dedicated to building energy literacy. Energy Exchange, a division of Pollution Probe, is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing energy literacy in Canada. The Energy Exchange logo is a registered trademark. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without written consent of the Publisher. Views of the writers do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher.[/vc_column_text][mk_divider style=”thin_solid” divider_width=”full_width” border_color=”#636266″ margin_top=”10″ margin_bottom=”10″][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”left” margin_bottom=”0″]


Pollution Probe thanks the following individuals for contributing to this edition of Energy Exchange magazine:

Ian Philp, director of operations, Advanced Energy Centre
Jim Burpee, president and chief executive officer, Canadian Electricity Association
Sara Williscroft, supervisor, marketing and strategic partnerships, Devon Canada
Susan Swan, manager energy policy and planning, Imperial
Steve McIsaac, executive director, Inside Education
Bonnie Schmidt, founder and president, Let’s Talk Science
Christopher Henderson, president, Lumos Energy
Jana Masters, senior advisor, NGO and stakeholder relations, Shell Canada Limited
Fiona Jones, general manager, sustainability, Suncor Energy
Ralph Torrie, president, Torrie Smith Associates Inc.
Bob Oliver, chief executive officer, Pollution Probe
Husam Mansour, chief operating officer, Pollution Probe
Ellen Pekilis, executive director, Energy Exchange
André Préfontaine, vice-president, strategic partnerships and custom content, Canadian Geographic Enterprises[/vc_column_text][mk_divider style=”thin_solid” divider_width=”full_width” border_color=”#636266″ margin_top=”10″ margin_bottom=”10″][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”left” margin_bottom=”0″]


Bob Oliver, chief executive officer
Husam Mansour, chief operating officer
Ellen Pekilis, executive director
Nancy Neil, director, marketing and communication
Pia Eriksen, marketing resource specialist
Devin Holterman, research and project assistant
Katie Ungard, research and project assistant[/vc_column_text][mk_divider style=”thin_solid” divider_width=”full_width” border_color=”#636266″ margin_top=”10″ margin_bottom=”10″][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”left” margin_bottom=”0″]CANADIAN GEOGRAPHIC ENTERPRISES
Gilles Gagnier, publisher
André Préfontaine, vice-president, strategic partnerships and custom content
Mary Jane Starr, director, strategic partnerships
Aaron Kylie, editor
Mike Elston, director, production
Thomas Hall, contributing editor
Jessica Finn, photo editor[/vc_column_text][mk_divider style=”thin_solid” divider_width=”full_width” border_color=”#636266″ margin_top=”10″ margin_bottom=”10″][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”left” margin_bottom=”0″]DESIGN
Cicada Creative, Bob Coady and Scott Acker[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/mk_custom_box][mk_padding_divider size=”40″][mk_button dimension=”three” size=”large” outline_skin=”dark” outline_active_color=”#fff” outline_hover_color=”#333333″ bg_color=”#13bdd2″ text_color=”light” icon=”moon-reading” url=”/resources/energy-exchange-magazine/issue-3/” target=”_self” align=”left” fullwidth=”true” margin_top=”0″ margin_bottom=”15″ animation=”fade-in”]Read more stories from the Winter 2015 issue of Energy Exchange magazine[/mk_button][/vc_column][/vc_row]