On June 23, 2014, the Honourable Greg Rickford, Canada's Minister of Natural Resources and Minister for the Federal Development Initiative for Northern Ontario, co-chaired a national roundtable discussion on energy innovation in Canada along with the Chair of Sustainable Development Technology Canada, Jim Balsillie.
The national roundtable is the sixth and final roundtable and builds on five thematic roundtables that have taken place across the country since last November. Each event focused on a specific energy technology area:
- Distributed power generation (Halifax, November 18, 2013);
- Next-generation transportation (Toronto, November 27, 2013);
- Energy efficiency (Montreal, December 4, 2013);
- Long-term research and development opportunities (Vancouver, January 14, 2014); and,
- Unconventional oil and gas, including carbon capture and storage (Calgary, January 15, 2014).
These themes were based on key technology clusters, where Canada is considered to have a competitive advantage as identified by McKinsey & Co. in their Opportunities for Canadian Energy Technologies in Global Markets report, commissioned by Natural Resources Canada in 2012.
The roundtables largely focussed on identifying barriers and solutions to accelerate energy innovation in Canada, and how best to align efforts and enhance collaboration to support energy innovation competitiveness both domestically and abroad. They gathered thoughtful contributions from industry, academia, associations, utilities, governments, non-governmental organizations, and the financial community. A number of prevailing themes emerged from these discussions including:
- Building national leadership to promote innovation by engaging key players within governments, utilities, industry and academia;
- Enhancing alignment, coordination and collaboration to maximize the impact of our innovation investments;
- Providing certainty through policy measures;
- Enhancing market access opportunities to foster a domestic market, and to support companies in demonstrating their technologies at home;
- Greater information sharing to break down barriers; and,
- Addressing energy literacy and consumer awareness through education.
These themes guided the discussion during each roundtable and served as a focal point for setting broad strategic priorities to enhance energy innovation in Canada, including how to use existing resources more efficiently and effectively.
The Government of Canada will use the results of the roundtable discussions as a guide to identify the best means to collaborate and coordinate with private and public sector groups interested in promoting energy innovation in Canada. A final report, summarizing the roundtable discussions, including the national event, will be developed and posted on the department’s website.