It’s all systems go for the Energy Futures Lab (EFL). From November 1-4, 2015 the 40 recently selected EFL Fellows met to kick-off the Lab and begin their work together. Over the next two years, the Fellows - diverse innovators and influencers from across Alberta’s energy system – will convene regularly to discuss Alberta’s current and future energy challenges and identify new possibilities.
Suncor’s representative in the Lab, Sandy Martin, VP of strategy and commercial development, is keen to work with others active in the energy sector to co-create a vision for Alberta’s energy future.
“The EFL Fellowship Program will help Suncor better understand and see the system from diverse perspectives,” says Sandy. “This will enable Suncor to identify our blind spots and listen to what societal and market signals are telling us about current and future energy development. It will also help us assess new technologies and innovation related to our energy future, and build optionality into Suncor’s business strategy.”
The Lab is facilitated by The Natural Step Canada, a non-profit that helps organizations understand and make progress on complex social, economic and environmental issues. The Suncor Energy Foundation, Pembina Institute and The Banff Centre are the convening organizations of the Lab. The Lab will serve as a platform for the Fellows, many of whom have different and contradictory positions, to align their individual efforts and identify innovative ways to transition Alberta towards a more resilient, sustainable energy system.
“The desire to shape the future, not just cope with it or react to it, is deeply embedded in Alberta’s culture,” says Lab Director, Chad Park, “The strengths and assets in today’s energy system can serve as a platform for innovation and leadership in the transition to the energy system that the future requires of us.”
Over the coming months the Fellows will build a shared vision for the energy system of the future and evaluate where we are today relative to that future state. They will then work together to develop interventions aimed at helping bridge the gap between where Alberta is and where we need to be. In parallel to the Lab, Suncor is also piloting a series of internal engagement workshops to help share learnings from the Lab and translate ideas into action within our company.
“In order to remain successful, sustainable, and prosperous, Alberta will need to create an energy future that is aligned with emerging social, economic and environmental demands,” says Sandy. “And Suncor, along with others from across the energy system, has a key role to play as we shape this future.”