Upcoming Canadian Cleantech Conferences Look to Move Solar, Biofuels Forward

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With 2011 winding down, both the Canadian solar and biofuels sectors are having their annual conferences within the next two weeks, to take stalk of the past year and move forward for 2012.

The Canadian Solar Industry Association (CanSIA), coming off a proposal in October for the upcoming Canadian Federal budget, is having its conference at the Metro Convention Centre in Toronto, Ontario December 5-6.

One topic that industry participants will be mulling over during the two-day conference includes global market trends in supply and demand for the solar industry. Currently, the solar industry is one of the top renewable energy industries. However, trade wars between China and the US, and economic concerns within Europe, are adding some downward pressure on the industry.

Other topics that will be discussed in various sessions include:

  • the market for solar thermal power, as some of the subsidies for solar thermal have dried up in Canada;
  • opportunities for growth outside of Ontario, which is Canada’s largest solar market;
  • how federal and provincial policies can benefit the overall Canadian industry;
  • the future for solar in Ontario after October’s provincial election, where Dalton McGinty’s Liberals won a minority government, easing some fears among some solar industry people (solar would have been hit hard if Tim Hudak’s Progressive Conservatives had won).

Also on tap at the CanSIA’s conference is discussions on whether or not Ontario’s solar industry can avoid the pitfalls and deploying solutions of some feed-in tariff programs.

Canadian Renewable Fuels Association Takes the “Pragmatic Path” for Conference

While the Canadian solar industry basks in the sunlight of late fall in Ontario, the Canadian biofuels industry will hit right in the heartland of Canada’s oil industry — Calgary, Alberta — from November 28 to November 30.

Being held at the Westin Hotel, the Canadian Renewable Fuels Association (CRFA) is holding its eighth annual conference.

The CRFA is looking to take a “pragmatic approach” to a sustainable economy in moving forward with the energy relationship between oil and renewable fuels.

“Too often, we find that others seek to pit the oil and gas industry against renewable fuels – and vice versa. Too often we see these industries compete for the favour of the public or government policymakers. In reality, there is a sound basis for a strong partnership,” said Jim Grey, Chairman of the Canadian Renewable Fuels Association on its website.

Topics that will grab some attention include a presentation on cellulosic ethanol, important considering that a report in October said the US will have some challenges to meet their renewable fuels standards. Paul Kelley, Vice President of Iogen Corporation will be discussing how his company is a leader in cellulosic ethanol and how others can boost their potential.

Other sessions will discuss how biofuels can move forward, including sessions on:

  • making transportation safe for biofuels (especially after the derailment of ethanol rail containers in Illinois this past September);
  • the ongoing debate of food versus fuel;
  • using feed stocks for biofuels;
  • potential markets for biofuels in aviation.

Potentially the most intriguing session in the conference is called “Finding The Balance for Transport Fuels.” It includes a range of panelists from different areas, including: Ted Stoner, Vice President of the Canadian Petroleum Products Institute; Tim Haig of the Canadian Renewable Fuels association; Jesse Row of the Canadian environmental economic think tank Pembina Institute; and Adam Gagnon, a former manager of Climate Change Central.

While Canada continues to lag behind other cleantech giants, including China, Europe, and the US, these two upcoming conferences in two renewable energy sectors in Canada are important for moving forward with key strategies for a sustainable economy.

Photo Credit by AttributionNoncommercialShare Alike by Canadian Youth Climate Coalition

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Adam Johnston

is expected to complete the Professional Development Certificate in Renewable Energy from the University of Toronto by December 2017. Adam recently completed his Social Media Certificate from Algonquin College Continuing & Online Learning. Adam also graduated from the University of Winnipeg with a three-year B.A. combined major in Economics and Rhetoric, Writing & Communications in 2011. Adam owns a part-time tax preparation business. He also recently started up Salay Consulting and Social Media services, a part-time business which provides cleantech writing, analysis, and social media services. His eventual goal is to be a cleantech policy analyst. You can follow him on Twitter @adamjohnstonwpg or check out his business www.salayconsultiing.com.

Adam Johnston has 305 posts and counting. See all posts by Adam Johnston