Energy Endurance Series Review

Published on December 14, 2018 by Will McGlynn

“To wrap up 2019, our manager of co-operative services Seth Leon hit the road to deliver 2 newly-designed workshops as part of our Energy Endurance Series.”

Delivered by the Alberta Community & Co-operative Association following Energy Efficiency Alberta funding, The Energy Endurance Series – aptly named after Ernest Shackleton’s expedition – has increased the capacity of everyday Albertans to understand how they could develop renewable energy projects in their communities. Taking place at the University of Athabasca and Drayton Valley’s state-of-the-art Clean Tech Energy Centre, over 60 participants took advantage of the chance to meet with 13 subject matter experts to progress their various projects.


Participants ranged from those actively delivering projects to interested individuals wanting to develop their skills in this area, as well as groups ready to activate an idea. This diverse group not only included renewables enthusiasts, but it was also inclusive of the Mayor & Reeve of Athabasca, economic development officers, housing co-operatives and first nation-states; demonstrating the scale of opportunity in renewables and the serious interest across society in tackling the climate change challenge.

“When it comes to renewables projects, there are metaphoric parallels to Shackleton’s Endurance expedition. Many of these projects here today are at the start of a long journey or have hit a barrier in taking the next step – that’s where this Series focuses on connecting a rapidly emerging sector so we can ensure community projects endure and create hyper-local value for decades to come”.

Seth Leon, Manager of Co-operative Services, Alberta Community and Co-operative Association

There were countless great examples and ideas being discussed, with The Metis Nation of Alberta leading the charge with it’s Climate Change Action Plan. The ‘Metis Crossing 5 megawatt Project’ is bigger than just installing solar panels on housing or administration complexes; they are aiming to offset the energy consumption of 40,000 citizens to become a net-zero nation. Having just started their environmental assessments, valuable knowledge was acquired from experts ahead of building beginning next year.

Two other great examples of projects attending the Series included a Tree Farm (currently selling Christmas Trees!) who validated the feasibility of their farm going off grid or grid-tied in the coming years and the connection of two community development groups in Athabasca. Environmental conservation group The Keepers of The Athabasca had a valuable chance to hear about the practicalities of the recent Community Generation announcement, and start discussions with local investment guru’s at the Athabasca Opportunity Development Co-operative on how this announcement can be leveraged in conjunction with the new Community Economic Development Corporation tax credit to make it easier for folks to get renewables projects off the ground.

Not only is there jostling for position between invertors and installers within this emerging industry, there is also a ton of innovation and unrealized disruption opportunities that could have a significant positive impact when it comes to electricity production, energy consumption rural economic development. With new renewables projects popping up left right and centre, we have seen a significant interest from our community to incorporate such projects as Opportunity Development Co-operatives in order to develop a sustainable business model which the community can own. Seth explains that “co-operative strategies in this new industry have an untapped potential that could allow groups to achieve economies of scale and operating efficiencies which lower the cost of living and help rural communities turn around or enhance their fortunes”.

With PACE Alberta already in discussions with 20 rural municipalities and the Community Generation program launching via Energy Efficiency Alberta on January 14, 2019; exciting times are most certainly ahead.

Subject Matter Experts:

  • Dr. Lorelei Hanson; Athabasca University
  • Louise Traynor, Bissell Centre
  • Gursh Bal, Virtuoso Energy
  • Robert J. Henry, Peters Energy
  • Brian Scott, PACE Alberta
  • Brian Kaliel, Miller Thomson LLP
  • Jule Asterisk, Keepers of the Athabasca
  • Amber Kenyon, Gateway Research Org.
  • Grant Sprague, Miller Thomson LLP
  • Amber Kenyon, Gateway Research Org.
  • Mikhail Ivanchikov, Dandelion Renewables
  • Dr. Lorelei Hanson; Athabasca University
  • Stephen Dautel, Dautel Solutions
  • Alex Monegro, Rewatt Power,
  • Larry Dahl, Solarwyse
  • Leigh Bond, PACE Alberta