Burnaby Clean Energy Summit 2024

By Ross Thrasher
GTEC Communications and Media Team

Josie Osborne speaking at the Burnaby Clean Energy Summit 2024

Josie Osborne

On June 11th the Burnaby Board of Trade assembled an impressive array of speakers and panelists at their second annual Clean Energy Summit. This information and networking event for clean-tech entrepreneurs attracted over 200 registrants.

Josie Osborne, the BC Minister of Energy, Mines & Low Carbon Innovation, kicked off the proceedings by highlighting the government’s low-carbon fuel standard, its support for the HTEC hydrogen project (more on this below), and its billions of capital investment in clean-energy partnerships.

Hydrogen as an emerging non-carbon energy source was the topic of the morning panel discussion. Moderated by the Director of the SFU Hydrogen Hub, this panel included three representatives of entities working in the hydrogen marketplace, plus an energy policy specialist from the Washington State government. Among the insights:

  • Investment in renewables (wind, solar etc.) has taken off as costs decline.
  • The transition to EVs will accelerate as battery technology improves.
  • In that vein, HTEC is developing hydrogen as a transportation fuel for heavy-duty vehicles, using liquefaction and hydrolysis techniques.
  • Air-quality and noise-reduction benefits will accrue as the trucking industry converts to hydrogen fuels.
  • Washington’s target for hydrogen’s contribution to the state’s alternative fuels is 27% by 2050.
  • Fortis BC, the natural gas utility, is experimenting with hydrogen extraction from water and hydrocarbons, and is researching the conversion of its pipeline infrastructure to enable hydrogen transmission.
  • Outstanding issues vis-a-vis hydrogen adoption include energy use in the production process; hydrogen storage (underground caverns? mega-batteries?); and the need for public education to promote this emerging technology.
Hydrogen panel members at Burnaby Clean Energy Summit 2024

Hydrogen Panel Discussion

After lunch, an executive from BC Hydro outlined the utility’s forward planning to address the anticipated future acceleration in the province’s electricity demand. The Site C dam, which should be operational in 2025, will add 8% to Hydro’s capacity (= 500K homes). The utility intends to provide 2000 EV charge points province-wide by 2030.

Another speaker discussed the Pacific NorthWest Economic Region (PNWER) Foundation, a statutory public/private nonprofit created in 1991 by the U.S. states of Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Montana, and Washington and five Canadian jurisdictions —Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, the Northwest Territories and the Yukon. PNWER will stage its annual summit in Whistler BC in July, addressing environmental and energy issues.

Start up to Scale up panel at Burnaby Clean Energy Summit 2024

From Start-Up to Scale-Up Panel

One of the afternoon panels was entitled “From Start-Up to Scale-Up”, focusing on the challenges of building new clean-tech enterprises from the ground up. Panelists represented two local battery-related businesses (Moment Energy and Nano One), a carbon-capture company (Svante), and a strategic-metals firm (ph7 Technologies). Drawing on the experience of growing their own companies, the panelists provided guidance on such topics as financing, partnerships, staffing and the thorny problem of finding industrial space in the Lower Mainland.

The final panel of the day addressed a Burnaby-specific subject, the city’s District Energy Utility Project, whose aim is to generate clean energy from waste processes. The project is targeting the space heating and domestic hot water needs of buildings in rapidly-growing South Burnaby. The first five-year phase should reduce CO2 by 13,400 tons annually.

The Burnaby Board of Trade delivered an informative and inspiring day for those who attended the second annual Clean Energy Summit.

Photo Credit: All of the images used in this article were taken by Chris Wright

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