April 26, 2024

Leaders explore ways to seize opportunities in the energy transition

School of Public Policy hosts event to tackle challenges facing Alberta amidst the evolving energy landscape.
A woman stands at a podium
Martha Hall Findlay, director and James S. and Barbara A. Palmer Chair in Public Policy, School of Public Policy.

Leaders from various sectors gathered on Feb. 21, 2024, for the Seizing Opportunities in the Energy Transition roundtable event. Hosted by The School of Public Policy at the downtown campus of UCalgary, this gathering aimed to confront the formidable challenges and opportunities facing Alberta amidst the evolving energy landscape. With the province's economic backbone deeply rooted in the oil and gas sector, the need for adaptation and innovation has never been more pressing.

Building upon The School of Public Policy’s Alberta Futures Project, the event identified and assessed opportunities for Alberta amidst the energy and emissions transition, taking into consideration the significant unpredictability inherent in the process, as well as the broader technological, demographic, trade, and policy shifts at play.

A woman stands behind a podium

Keynote speaker Nancy Southern.

Adrian Shellard photos, for the University of Calgary

Distinguished Policy Fellow Nancy Southern, the esteemed keynote speaker and a leading light in the energy industry, set the tone for the day with her invaluable insights. The roundtable harnessed the collective wisdom of senior figures from business, government, community, Indigenous groups, academia, and subject matter experts. Guided by the principles of Chatham House Rules, where ideas flowed freely without attribution, the event fostered an atmosphere of candid dialogue and collaboration.

Divided into three sessions, the roundtable delved into the internal and external factors shaping the energy transition and Alberta's position within it. Panelists and moderators facilitated discussions on the opportunities emerging in various sectors such as energy, agribusiness, manufacturing, life sciences, transportation, and financial services. They explored how these sectors could adapt, reorient, and innovate to drive economic and social prosperity in Alberta.

Throughout the sessions, a sense of urgency pervaded as participants grappled with the challenges and barriers hindering progress. Each speaker brought unique perspectives to the table, sparking lively debates and inspiring new ideas.

Martha Hall-Findlay, the newly appointed director of The School of Public Policy, delivered a thought-provoking address during the luncheon. “The School of Public Policy will play a significant role in helping shape the key policy decisions needed to help Alberta and Canada not just manage the evolving energy landscape but to capitalize on its extraordinary opportunities. We here in Alberta and Canada are better-positioned than anywhere in the world to be the go-to for the best ideas on the future of energy.”

A man stands in front of a podium

President Ed McCauley.

“The University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy is a national leader in research and data analysis on the energy transition, which will help Canada better navigate towards a low-carbon future,” said Dr. Ed McCauley, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Calgary. “The participants at the roundtable offered a clear view of the opportunities and challenges in energy transition, a global endeavour in which Alberta can rise as an innovator.” 

The release of the upcoming "proceedings" style briefing and action paper will serve as tangible reminders of the participants’ commitment to seizing opportunities in the energy transition.

A man stands behind a podium

Jack Mintz, President’s Fellow, School of Public Policy.

The legacy of the Seizing Opportunities in the Energy Transition event is a testament to the power of collaboration and innovation in times of upheaval. In the face of daunting challenges, Alberta stands poised to embrace the winds of change, confident in its ability to adapt, thrive, and lead the way towards a brighter and cleaner tomorrow.

“The School of Public Policy roundtable was an excellent event that provided much food for thought. The energy transition is a major step that could result in Canada and Alberta being an energy superpower if we follow a path that achieves objectives at the lowest cost,” said President’s Fellow, Jack Mintz.

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