Alberta Solar Cooperative (ASC) directors and allies attended the 2016 Alberta Climate Summit titled “Mapping the pathway to Alberta’s low-carbon future”, which was organized by the Pembina Institute.
Over 500 participants attended the event, including more than 30 panelists, a majority of which travelled from outside of Alberta. The summit’s opening address from Shannon Phillips, Minister of Environment & Parks, provided attendees with a status update on what the government has achieved to date on its Climate Leadership Plan. She also described what will be unfolding in the near term, including the formation of Energy Efficiency Alberta (the agency tasked with developing community-scale renewable energy programs).
One recurring message of the summit was that fighting climate change is a shared responsibility. Government, businesses, and Albertans all have a role in this and are called be part of the solution in the transition to a lower carbon economy in Alberta. The importance of a collaborative approach was repeated over and over by panelists and those representing government, companies, and communities.
The summit reaffirmed the relevance of our cooperative and a growing need for alternative funding approaches to renewable energy development in the province. The breakout sessions on utility-scale and community-owned renewables reinforced that direct economic participation in community-scale renewables is possible, and that Alberta communities are already exploring ways to fund renewables themselves. Our First Nations are looking to renewable energy as a tool for improving the economy and prosperity of their communities and are also exploring co-operative models of ownership. Panelists and presenters kept highlighting the need for innovation funds and the importance of clean-tech funding.
Overall, the summit was a positive experience with a healthy balance of optimism and realism. We are hearing that more and more players in Alberta’s energy economy agree on the need for action. We feel that the government is listening to our feedback and addressing the need for policy that will help direct the energy and actions of all who want to participate in this challenging opportunity.
We will make it possible for Albertans to directly participate in Alberta’s renewable energy transition, through RRSP and TFSA eligible member-investments.
We were happy to reconnect with existing supporters and partners, and also make new connections. We hope to develop these relationships, using collaboration and co-operation in answering Alberta’s call to climate action.
To learn more about the summit and view recordings of the presentations and panel discussions, visit the Pembina Institute’s Twitter feed here.