Minister Guilbeault joins climate research showcase

On August 10, Climate Positive Energy (CPE) – an Institutional Strategic Initiative at U of T – hosted their second annual Research Day. Over 200 students, faculty, partners, and industry representatives joined at the Faculty Club.  

The event kicked off with a keynote address by John Gracie, Vice-President, Strategy and Innovation at Hydro One Networks Inc. Gracie spoke to the various challenges facing Ontario’s electrical grid. Chief among these is expected tripling of demand for electricity by 2050. Gracie noted Ontario’s future energy system must be able to accommodate increased innovation, such as distributed energy resources that are being developed and commercialized, to support decarbonization efforts. 

Guest speaker Michael Ross, Industrial Research Chair, Northern Energy Innovation at Yukon University, spoke to the energy challenges facing the region. Dr. Ross provided insights into the integration of renewable energy solutions in remote Indigenous communities, and the multi-disciplinary approach needed to support a just energy transition, including social, technical, environmental, economic, and political considerations. 

For the first announcement of the day, Minister Steven Guilbeault, federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change, unveiled new Clean Electricity Regulations (CER). The proposed regulations put a cap – starting in 2035 – on greenhouse gas emissions from large generating facilities. Gas plants with carbon capture technology will be allowed to operate but those lacking this technology will need to curb their GHG emissions. The proposed regulations aim to reduce emissions for electricity production and are part of the government’s net-zero by 2035 plan. 

Minister Guilbeault also recognized the student researchers involved with in CPE at the University. “I’m thrilled to see so many creative and innovative ideas on display here today,” remarked Minister Guilbeault. “Keep them coming! Because to reach net-zero by 2050, we will need your energy and creativity; we need your innovative research, your ideas, and ground-breaking, society changing technologies… It’s events like these that keep inspiring youth to continue to develop their skills and expand their knowledge so that they can participate in… a more sustainable future,” he continued.  

That morning, U of T was pleased to welcome MP Julie Dabrusin, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, and Minister Guilbeault to campus. U of T’s Luke Barber, Acting Chief Operating Officer, and Scott Hendershot, Senior Manager,  Sustainability Office, welcomed the pair with a tour of the University’s rooftop solar panels as part U of T’s climate positive plan

The second announcement of the day centred on U of T’s new Climate Finance Accelerator. This collaborative initiative between CPE and Rotman School of Management provides graduate students with a week-long boot camp experience that’s both interdisciplinary and hands-on, and focused on climate financing for the low carbon transition. Course registration will be available soon, with the first intake taking place this Fall. 

In the afternoon, 20 student researchers from over a dozen U of T departments presented their research. Presentations were observed by a panel of judges – Graham Takata (BMO Global Asset Management), Graham Takata (BMO Global Asset Management), Graeme Armster (Deltera), Dr. Jeff van Heumen (Ontario Centre of Innovation), and Megan MacLean (City of Toronto) – who awarded prizes, consisting of cash and IP consultation services by Ridout and Maybee, to 6 undergraduate and graduate researchers who demonstrated exceptional capabilities to advance CPE research themes. 

For information on the award recipients and additional photos from the day, click here

Photo, top: Shatha Qaqish-Clavering, Director, Strategy and Operations, CPE; Minister Steven Guilbeault, federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change; MP Julie Dabrusin, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, and David Sinton, Academic Director, CPE, and professor and Canada Research Chair in the Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering.

Share this article: