Clean energy projects in the Kootenays will be on display this spring when the Clean Energy BC conference leaves Greater Vancouver for the first time to visit Trail, BC June 4-6.
Powering Generations: Legacy to the Future will showcase the region’s environmentally conscious side and recognize how clean energy continues to contribute to long-time economic success in metallurgy, forestry, mining, and the high-tech sectors.
“These high value industries are already running on nearly 100% renewable power in the Kootenays, so it’s a great fit hosting the conference here at home,” says Mary Austin, director of business development at Austin Engineering Ltd.
From their in-house hydraulics lab and their research partner’s lab at the University of British Columbia Okanagan, Austin Engineering uses 3D printing, modeling and shake table technology to expertly demonstrate ground-breaking research and experimental investigations into complex dam-water interactions.
The award-winning engineer firm is proudly located in Trail, right next to the Columbia River and downstream from some of BC’s largest hydroelectric generating stations, where most of the province’s electricity is produced.
Innovation is burgeoning in the region, where business around Teck’s Trail Operations is growing. The surrounding area has in fact been coined ‘Metal Tech Alley,’ and has generated a trickle-down effect; start-ups, new investment, and more economic opportunity than ever before are all flourishing in the robust technology hub.
One company making an impact there is i4C Innovation Inc., a technology integrator that designs and implements complex industrial solutions in collaboration with technology partners.
Symptoms of the diversification of B.C.’s industries continue to manifest, with projects like Nelson’s Community Solar Garden blossoming and taking root. The project, developed through Nelson Hydro’s EcoSave Energy Retrofits Program, launched in 2017 as Canada’s first community centralized solar array. It allows members of the community to invest in solar energy production on a per-panel basis; the energy generated by the system is then credited on an annual basis to subscribers’ electricity bills in proportion to their investment.
In addition to championing these innovative clean technologies and renewable energy projects and businesses, the region is also fostering dedication to feeder educational opportunities like Selkirk College’s new Digital Fabrication & Design Program.
Kootenay Association for Science & Technology board member Jason Taylor, a specialist in digital fabrication, rapid prototyping, and advanced manufacturing – and an instructor and researcher at Selkirk College – is one of the leading influencers presenting at the conference.
“We’re all so proud to represent the Kootenays and its growing economy,” adds Mary. “We choose to live and work here in this beautiful region and we couldn’t be more excited to share how our mountain life meets innovation.”
The three-day conference provides a networking platform for sharing knowledge by connecting industry professionals with technology innovators and community and local First Nations leaders. Because it’s vital to recognize the cultural and environmental relationships within the region, this year’s conference aims to cultivate more meaningful dialogue surrounding clean energy technologies and the environment than ever before between these groups.
Clean Energy BC has given a voice to the clean energy industry for over 25 years; it supports the province’s transition to low-carbon energy through the development of effective climate policy and clean energy electrification.
As clean energy continues to mix into a cross-section of industries, it’s important to recognize its diverse footprint. The conference is doing just that this year by travelling to the Kootenays, where power is generated and innovation thrives.
For more information on the conference, check out cleanenergybcevent.ca