Today, the MaRS Cleantech Practice convened and hosted over 200 energy sector stakeholders from industry, academia and government for the 2012 Future of Energy summit. This gathering of business leaders, technology entrepreneurs and policy-makers was challenged with the question of how to advance Ontario’s position of leadership in the global clean energy marketplace.
Not only is the $5 trillion energy sector the single largest technology industry on the planet today, it is also undergoing an exciting and rapid transformation as jurisdictions around the world overhaul the way they generate, distribute and use energy.
The result was a dynamic and diverse exchange of insights, fuelled by the exciting news that kicked off the morning: MaRS will work with the Government of Ontario and other like-minded partners to create a Clean Energy Institute. This extraordinary initiative, announced by the Minister of Energy in partnership with the Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation, is a tremendous vote of confidence in MaRS’ capacity in collaborative leadership, and suggests a very positive outlook for the future of energy in Ontario.
The Summit heard from senior Cabinet ministers, researchers and entrepreneurs, public sector distributors, regulators, and utilities managers, and private sector industry leaders—all very different players but part of the same team, working together toward the same goals. Speakers and delegates stressed the need to create and retain jobs here at home by focusing on international export opportunities for Ontario’s homegrown clean energy expertise and technology. Their collective conversations did not end with the conclusion of the Summit—the ideas, plans and actions that follow are a natural and necessary segue into the work that the Clean Energy Institute will seek to undertake.
The vision for the Institute is to be a powerful catalyst for energy sector collaboration. It would drive long-range regulatory and policy planning, set research and commercialization priorities for Ontario’s clean energy technologies, and establish a strong presence in domestic and international export markets.
In short, its mission will be to build and support Ontario’s clean energy ecosystem, resulting in higher exports of and investment in a cleaner, more efficient, and future-ready intelligent energy grid. This leads to lower carbon emissions, easier ways for businesses and families to save energy and money, and more highly skilled jobs created right here at home.
Ontario’s economic growth and prosperity depends on continuous innovation at the intersection of business, policy, capital and technology. This is the core of MaRS’ raison d’être; this is what we’re all about. We are thrilled to have been chosen to do what we do best: collaborate with partners, inspire and catalyze action, and lead Ontario’s innovation ecosystem in breaking new ground. We can’t wait to get started.