Calgary’s innovators a catalyst for positive energy disruption
How Calgary’s dynamic natural resources sector lures major industry events
Long hailed as an energy city with the highest concentration of headquarters per capita, Calgary has now become the logical base for new and established renewable energy companies.
With many major companies throughout the energy-value chain calling Calgary home, the city is attracting major conferences of natural resources organizations hoping to leverage the city’s vibrant energy talent pool for networking events, workshops and stimulating facility tours.
As Canada – and the world – moves towards a cleaner energy future, all eyes are on Alberta as it raises the bar for Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) standards higher than anywhere else in the world.
Calgary, along with the entire province of Alberta, is leading the industry towards disruptive innovation with one goal in mind – to make a smooth and successful transition to clean energy sources
Chris Brown, Business Development Manager, Energy & Environment, Calgary Economic Development
“Alberta is perfectly positioned to be at the forefront of renewable energy solutions, with more than 35 percent of its land base ideal for wind energy production and extensive sunshine allowing for large-scale solar innovations.”
Domestic and international energy corporations and organizations are drawn to Calgary for its long-established renewable energy companies, dynamic industry entrepreneurs and abundance of thought-leaders eager to share their knowledge with delegates of visiting business events and conferences.
Harnessing the elements for green power
With 333 days of sunshine per year, Calgary is Canada’s sunniest major city, giving rise to the largest solar farm in the country, Travers Solar, located in Vulcan county, just over an hour from Calgary.
Launched by Greengate Power, whose head office is based in Calgary, this expansive solar initiative will encompass 1.3 million solar panels on 3300 acres of land, with a capacity to power more than 150,000 homes.
“Travers Solar sits alongside wind energy hub, Black Spring Ridge, whose co-owner, Enbridge, is a multinational pipeline company also headquartered in Calgary,” says Brown.
“With so many significant energy corporations choosing Calgary as their base, Alberta is quickly becoming known as a green energy powerhouse.”
Alberta’s abundance of high-quality renewable energy resources has allowed the province to procure some of the cheapest wind power in Canada. In fact, Rystad Energy, who tracks wind and solar assets, predicts 83 percent of the combined utility-scale wind and solar capacity built in Canada over the next five years will be in Alberta.
“Alberta has committed to cease burning coal to generate electricity by 2030, which means our local, well-established energy corporations are pouring their expertise and resources into developing green energy solutions, while young entrepreneurs and new companies are choosing Calgary as their base to launch start-up renewable energy businesses,” says Brown.
Mega energy projects are also underway close to Calgary, with Suncor building Wind River, a 50,000-acre wind farm in Southern Alberta, creating Alberta’s first pumped hydro energy storage project, and E3 Metals Corp launching a patented ion-exchange extraction technology to produce battery-grade lithium hydroxide.
“It’s exciting to see progress being made in the development of battery-grade lithium hydroxide, as we know this particular compound is a vital player in the move towards decarbonization,” says Brown.
“Its capacity to store electricity from renewable sources makes it useful for electric cars and household energy use.”
Alberta’s renewable energy partnerships continue to increase, with many major brands signing power purchase agreements (PPA) with Calgary-based renewable energy companies as they commit to converting to cleaner energy sources.
For example, the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) funded two fields of solar panels in 2020 through PPAs with BlueEarth Renewables Inc and green energy supplier, Bullfrog Power, to support the RBC’s goal to convert its electricity to renewable sources by 2025.
Catalyst for conversion
As the transition to renewables accelerates, Calgary’s energy community actively supports local businesses as they undergo the process of conversion.
The Business Renewables Centre is a non-profit initiative helping to grow renewable energy throughout Canada by teaching corporations and institutions how to buy renewable energy directly from developers.
“BRC-Canada makes it easier for corporations to enter the renewable energy market by sharing the hard-earned lessons of the early movers in the US and Canada,” says Rebecca Nadel, Director, Business Renewables Council.
“We champion renewable energy offerings throughout Alberta and the rest of Canada, bringing together veteran renewable purchasers, deal-makers and those who are interested in learning more about making the switch to renewables.”
The annual BRC summit is held in Calgary, attracting more than 200 members to the city, where they can benefit first-hand from local renewables expertise and take advantage of the vibrant urban culture and unparalleled outdoor adventures.
“Calgary continues to attract major business events and conferences in the natural resources sector, with the Canadian Solar Industries Association and Canadian Wind Energy Association both choosing to hold their major annual conferences here prior to the COVID-19 pandemic,” says David Woodward, Executive Director, Meetings & Conventions at Tourism Calgary.
The Global Energy Show, North America’s leading energy event, is set to take place in the BMO Centre at Stampede Park in Calgary in September 2021, where more than 50,000 attendees will discuss the challenges and opportunities of meeting the global energy demands of today, tomorrow and beyond.
Meetings with purpose
By augmenting speakers’ series with Calgary’s natural resources experts, or enriching programming with tours throughout the city and beyond, business event organizers can attract delegates, increase revenues, and inspire future generations.
“We call that 'meeting with purpose’,” says Woodward, pointing out that Calgary is poised to show off its natural resources ecosystems and the industry leaders who are trailblazing a greener future.
To learn more about Calgary’s role as a leader in the global energy transition, please visit www.yycenergyenvironment.ca