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WGSI Hosts Panel on Energy at the 2012 Canadian Science Policy Conference

Monday, November 5, 2012

How is Canada reacting and adapting to the changing landscape of energy in regards to science policy and innovation? What are the roles of the private sector and civil society in facilitating the transition? What are the best and latest in the energy technological space?

To tackle these timely questions, WGSI is hosting a highly focused panel on Canadian energy policy at the 2012 Canadian Science Policy Conference (CSPC) on November 5 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Titled "Energy Innovation and the Role of Government in Canada's Energy Future", the panel will draw on expertise from the private sector, Canada's energy innovation ecosystem, public NGOs, and academia. More specifically, the discussion will zoom in on the following major subject areas:

Innovative Ideas and the Role of NGOs: the Waterloo Global Science Initiative's (WGSI) Equinox Blueprint: Energy 2030 sets the context—transformation of Canada's energy infrastructure into a coherent low-carbon electricity ecosystem—for discussion. In this critical transition, the roles of private sector and civil society will be examined:

  • What are Canada's most interesting and innovative energy NGOs and think-tanks? Where are they and what are they doing?
  • To what extent have they acted as experts and participated in scientific communities surrounding energy policy issues?
  • Can NGOs drive energy transitions in technology, policy, and energy use among Canadians, through research and advocacy?
  • How are they contributing in research cycles in terms of fostering the relevance and effectiveness of scientific research, setting priority for science policy, and translating knowledge to action?
  • How do NGOs interact with industry and government in the energy space? What kind of partnerships could be forged among them?

Innovations and the Role of Private Sector: how will Canadian energy and natural resources markets and industry react and adapt to the changing technological and policy landscape:

  • Electricity system management, oil sands developments and regulation, and the potential for collaboration among private sector players and with public and civil society partners to stimulate innovation.
  • What innovative solutions are being adopted in the energy business to address Canadian energy challenges of today and tomorrow? What is the right mix of private sector financing and public money to spur Canadian energy innovation?
  • Is the clean energy/cleantech sector economically sustainable without public financing?
  • Is there a link or an interaction between innovation in traditional Canadian energy (oil, gas, nuclear, fracking, oilsands, oilfield services, geological mining) and emerging renewables?
  • What can we learn about public attitudes towards new energy services, for instance, from the smart grid experiences of Ontario and BC?
  • What public infrastructure is most needed to support private sector and NGOs in energy innovation? (e.g. smart grids? Net metering? Tax incentive? Interconnectivity standards? Upgraded transmission capacity?)

Our panelists include:

  • Dr. Jatin Nathwani, Professor and Ontario Research Chair in Public Policy for Sustainable Energy; Executive Director, Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy (WISE), University of Waterloo;
  • Dr. Tom Rand, Advisor of Cleantech, MaRS, Toronto;
  • Ms. Jackie Forrest, Director of Global Oil, IHS CERA, Calgary;
  • Dr. Tim Weis, Director, Renewable Energy and Efficiency Policy, Pembina Institute, Edmonton;
  • Dr. Marcius Extavour (Moderator), Science Policy Consultant, Research Associate, Council of Canadian Academies, Toronto.

To follow CSPC 2012, please visit: