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May 13 2024

Post Event | Alberta Next: Energy & Environment

The Hon. Christy Clark speaking in a fireside chat with Deborah Yedlin

On May 8, the Calgary Chamber of Commerce celebrated Alberta's continued leadership in energy development and environmental stewardship at Alberta Next: Energy & Environment. Bringing together a diverse group of business leaders, the event focused on opportunities and challenges facing the sector, including the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI), the role of innovation in decarbonizing the economy, Canada’s lagging productivity performance and what is required from the energy industry and all levels of government to get large-scale infrastructure projects built in Canada.

A conversation with Christy Clark, former Premier of British Columbia and Senior Advisor of Bennett Jones

The Hon. Christy Clark joined Deborah Yedlin, President and CEO of the Calgary Chamber to kickstart the forum with a fireside chat discussing the strategic value of the energy industry to the entire country and bringing insights on how we can share the positive story of energy development and environmental stewardship across Canada.

The fireside chat covered the recently completed Trans Mountain Expansion (TMX) project and the collaboration required to get the project across the finish line. Ms. Clark expressed the importance of TMX not being the last pipeline built in this country and reiterated the value of Canada’s energy sector while denoting that we must all push to decarbonize the industry. The conversation highlighted Canada’s faltering productivity, including prospective solutions to this challenge, such as de-risking and incentivizing innovation and investment.

In an increasingly unstable geo-political world, Ms. Clark touched on the value of getting Canada’s resources to market, including alternative forms of energy, such as small modular reactors, hydrogen and LNG. The conversation ended on a hopeful note, with Ms. Clark stating that Canada has massive potential in talent, natural resources, brainpower and innovation, we simply must use our resources effectively and lead the way through innovation.

Rocky Vermani, Jeff Lawson and Alison Jackson speaking on a panel

Panel: Leading the way on the path to sustainability

The first panel discussion was moderated by Alison Jackson, Managing Partner of Ernst & Young, and featured panelists Rocky Vermani, Senior Vice President of Innovation & Sustainability at NOVA Chemicals and Jeff Lawson, Senior Vice President of Corporate Development and Acting Chief Sustainability Officer at Cenovus.

The panelists discussed the importance of decarbonization at both a local and global level, what is needed to reimagine the sector from linear to circular, the strides being made by both companies on the path to decarbonize and the upside for young people getting involved in the energy and sustainability industry.

Panelists emphasized the need for governments to stabilize the policy environment, noting Canada’s decline in productivity and competition for foreign direct investment. Lastly, the panelists noted the need to be aware of the challenges the industry and country are facing, including faltering investment, labour shortages and regulatory uncertainty, but to also be aware of the immense opportunity to become the country we have the potential to be.

Dr. Ghada Naftie, Torrie Turner, Kevin Krausert and Ruhee Ismail-Teja speaking on a panel

Panel: Innovation and public policy and industry practices to combat greenhouse gas emissions

The second panel discussion was moderated by Ruhee Ismail-Teja, Vice President, Policy and External Affairs at the Calgary Chamber, and featured panelists Torrie Turner, Industry Executive, Oil & Gas and Mining Americas at Microsoft, Kevin Krausert, CEO of Avatar Innovations and Dr. Ghada Naftie, Co-founder and CEO of Litus.

The panelists discussed the transformative role of AI in driving efficiency and innovation across the sector, emphasized the significance of data-driven decision-making and establishing data foundations and explored how AI technologies can be leveraged to mitigate emissions and enhance energy efficiency through the process of optimization, monitoring and maintenance.

The panelists highlighted the importance of forging partnerships between government, industry and startups to address increasing energy demands and remaining adaptable to technological advancements. The panelists also pointed out Alberta’s potential to lead the energy transition and the importance of collaboration in maintaining Canada’s global standing in energy leadership.

Alberta Next: Energy & Environment was a testament to Alberta’s pivotal role in shaping Canada’s energy and environmental future through innovation. It provided valuable insights into the opportunities, challenges and key areas for growth to ensure that Canada remains economically competitive while meeting our ambitious goals on the road to decarbonize.

Thank you to our presenting sponsor who made this event possible, NOVA Chemicals, our reception sponsor, Pathways Alliance and our supporting sponsors, BDC, Bennett Jones LLP, Cenovus Energy and Keyera, and our student table sponsors TalentED YYC.