EnVision 2019 Program


Thursday, May 2

08:00 - Registration

Conference registration and complimentary light breakfast.

08:45 - Welcome Statement

Dr. Andrew Rowe opens the first day of EnVision 2019.

09:00 - Plenary 1 - Dr. Keywan Riahi

Rapid Decarbonization: Synergies and Tradeoffs for Sustainable Development Goals

Dr. Keywan RiahiDirector of the Energy Program, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

10:00 - Break

Coffee, refreshments and light snacks are provided.

10:30 - Panel 1 - Energy Systems

“Dispatchable” Renewables: Electricity Markets, Storage and Transmission

Moderator: Ned Djilali, Mechanical Engineering

David Chassin, Stanford University, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, Scientist
Raymond Lings, Powertech Labs Inc., President & CEO
Ketan Lakhani, Alberta Market Surveillance Administrator, Manager, Analytics

The share of variable renewable energy generation has been growing rapidly around the world. Many jurisdictions have 100% clean electricity mandate over a 25 year horizon. Achieving those goals with significant variable generation while continuing to ensure economical and reliable supply of electricity supply is a challenge. A key aspect of this challenge is the non-dispatchable nature of renewables such as wind and solar.
With modest levels of variable renewables, balancing costs have been attached a posteriori to existing electricity markets. A fundamental redesign of the way the grid is operated from both a market and electricity dispatch perspective will be required to integrate generation resources characterized by intermittency, high fixed costs and low marginal costs. These resources, which are virtually free to dispatch but cannot be controlled, are expected to require significant balancing resources, cause transmission congestion and impact wholesale prices.
The panel will discuss various approaches to allow renewable generation to be dispatchable, the critical role and value of energy storage, the opportunities/needs for interconnection scale coordination and for integration of distributed energy resources, and some of the required changes in electricity markets and business models.

11:30 - Panel 2 - Renewables

Small Scale – Big Challenge: Eliminating the Diesel Dilemma for BC’s Coastal Communities

Moderator: Brad Buckham, Mechanical Engineering

Yuho Okada, Barkley Group, President
Elisa Obermann, Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC)
Jason Hayman, Sustainable Marine Energy Ltd., Managing Director

BC is home to a disproportionately large number of Canada’s off-grid communities (~ 1 in 6) with a significant number of these being located on the BC coast. In these villages, diesel remains the dominant energy source and presents a dilemma: achieving economic and social development goals means accepting unwanted noise, pollution and economic and environmental risks associated with buying, transporting, storing and burning diesel.  While it is widely advertised that renewables are cost-competitive, renewables integration in remote communities faces particular challenges including efficient energy storage and diseconomy-of-scale (increasing unit costs with decreasing power plant capacity).In addition, the predominant renewable supplies on the BC Coast are ocean winds, waves and tides and commercialization of such technologies lags that in the solar and wind sectors.
In this session we will hear from individuals and organizations that represent the cultivators (public funding and policy), innovators (technology developers) and adopters (community leaders) of ocean renewable technology. The panel will comment on efforts to eliminate BC’s diesel dilemma and the gaps that remain in the pathway to commercial operations at sub-MW scale on the BC Coast.

12:30 - Lunch and Poster Session

Join us for a complimentary lunch.

13:45 - Panel 3 - Clean Transportation

Insights to drive the shift to multi-modal systems

Moderator: Curran Crawford, Mechanical Engineering

Mark Hallenbeck, University of Washington, Washington State Transportation Center
Christina Ianniciello, BC Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Director, Clean Transportation
Jacques van Campen, South Island Prosperity Project, Director of Innovation

Transportation is a significant and growing contributor to global emissions, and also one of the most challenging to address given its inherent mobility and performance requirements. This panel will bring together a range of experts to debate the emerging technical/social/business solutions in the transportation arena, and their implications with the potential to disrupt the transportation space both positively and negatively from an emissions perspective. Specifically, the panel will examine the implications of 'big data' and interconnectivity in both understanding and operating future transportation systems, alongside important security implications in accelerating or delaying implementation. The emphasis will be on urban, multi-model transportation of people and goods. There will be a heavy emphasis on consumer preferences and their role in real-world multi-modal transport technology adoption, highlighting where and how systems can be engineered to seamlessly deliver the services users desire while enabling emissions reductions. Finally, the panel will include a health dose of reality to help cut through the hype and buzz surrounding transformative technologies based on analysis of previously heralded technological revolutions and user insights.

14:45 - Break

Coffee, refreshments and light snacks are provided.

15:00 - Panel 4 - Energy Technology

Spurring Radical Innovation

Moderator: Ged McLean, PICS

Michael Delage, General Fusion, CTO
Ian Pallet, Vanion Energy Inc., President & CEO
Anna Stukas, Carbon Engineering, Business Development

The need to eliminate old carbon from our energy system presents an immense opportunity for totally new ideas and ways of delivering power and managing our environment that have potential to 'change the game' for the better. But developing such radical new ideas presents immense challenges, from figuring out just how to build  'first of its kind' technologies to creating business cases that will support these long term development initiatives before main-stream commercialization is possible. In this session we will hear from three pioneering companies who are developing truly transformative technologies - nuclear fusion, direct air capture of CO2 and grid scale electricity storage. We will get a 'report from the field' about the status of each technology and then engage in a frank discussion about the challenges of sustaining these innovative activities, lessons learned along the way and perhaps get a few tips about things they would avoid if starting again.

16:45 - Reception and Banquet

Join us for dinner at the University Club.

Friday, May 3

08:00 - Registration

Conference registration and complimentary light breakfast.

08:45 - Opening Statement

Dr. Andrew Rowe opens the second day of EnVision 2019.

09:00 - Plenary 2 - Dr. Mark O'Malley

Is low carbon energy system research an excuse to solve bigger equations?

Dr. Mark O'Malley, Chief Scientist, Energy Systems Integration, NREL

Energy systems are transforming, based largely on the drive to decarbonize. Energy system decarbonization can be achieved in many ways including increasing renewable energy, carbon capture, increased nuclear and probably the most effective, reduction in energy use and waste.  An integrated energy systems approach is fundamental for effective decarbonization and energy system models are being developed and deployed at a rapid pace in order to inform and enable decarbonization.  However, these models are limited, limiting and limitless all at the same time.   The seminar will first introduce the concept of energy systems integration.  I will then share aspects of my work on the integration of variable renewable energy into electricity grids to illustrate its central role in decarbonization and the critical role of modelling.  These contributions include insights into variable renewable energy characteristics (i.e. generator technology and resource variability and uncertainty) and the consequential development of new methods and models for the operation and planning of electricity grids.  The advantages of coupling electricity to other energy vectors (e.g. heat) and the electrification of large parts of the economy will be illustrated along with the need for more comprehensive models.  Finally, some research challenges in particular with respect to models will be proposed and the need for collaboration between academia and industry, across disciplines and internationally in overcoming these challenges will be emphasized. 

10:00 - Break

Coffee, refreshments and light snacks are provided.

10:30 - Panel 5 - Innovation in the Built Environment

Decarbonizing the existing building stock

Moderators: Andrew Pape-Salmon, BC MAH, Building and Safety Standards, Executive Director; Justin Blanchfield, SES Consulting, Partner

Christy Love, RDH Building Science Inc. Regional Manager
David Adams, University of Victoria, Energy Manager (TBC)
Fraser Work, City of Victoria, Director Engineering & Public Works

How can we accelerate the mitigation of carbon emissions while considering geographical, market, and social factors?
This panel discussion is focused on technology, policy and institutional issues. Our goal is to be provocative, focusing on transformation in 2050, rather than the current state of affairs. The Clean BC goal is an 80% reduction in emissions by 2050, net-zero energy ready (for new construction) in the BC Building Code by 2032, 20% in 2022, 40% in 2027. Energy retrofit code for existing buildings by 2024. While many designs, technologies and materials already exist and will enable the construction of new net-zero ready buildings, retrofitting the existing building stock represents a unique challenge for architectural, building envelope and mechanical professionals.
What are the technical limits on improving the performance of existing buildings through deep energy retrofits? What are the risks of unintended consequences on other building performance factors? How will building codes affect the renewal of existing buildings? What other government policy levers are necessary to improve their performance? What role does measured data and performance verification play in advancing the performance of existing buildings? How can we advance climate change adaptation as a co-benefit of building retrofits, in addition to energy efficiency.
 Some stats:

  • Buildings represent a significant portion of Canada’s annual emissions; often over 50% in large urban centres
  • 70-80% of buildings in 2030 exist today.

11:30 - Panel 6 - Sustainable Communities

Critical data for sustainable urban transitions.

Moderator: Chris Kennedy, Civil Engineering

Stephanie Pincetl, UCLA, California Center for Sustainable Communities
Kenneth Porter, Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, Sr. Policy Analyst
Rory Tooke, City of Victoria, Manager Sustainability and Asset Management


Dr. Pincetl will present on the construction of the Los Angeles energy atlas and the work of the California Centre for Sustainable Communities. Her team has constructed the largest set of publicly available disaggregated energy data amongst US cities, and conducted analysis linking energy use to social and environmental challenges. The panel will discuss barriers and successes in collecting spatially detailed urban energy data in California and British Columbia, and future applications.

12:30 - Lunch and Poster Session

Join us for a complimentary lunch.

13:30 - Panel 7 - Human Dimensions

Humanizing the energy system transition: industry, government, and the public

Moderator: Madeleine McPherson, Civil Engineering

Mark O'Malley, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Sr. Research Fellow
James Meadowcroft, Carleton University, School of Public Policy and Administration
Duncan Cavens, C2MP Consulting, Principal

A new report, released at the recent UNFCCC COP24 conference in Poland, concluded with a familiar message: “In Europe, a full transition to 100% renewable energy across all sectors – power, heat, transport and desalination is feasible. Existing renewable energy potential and technologies, including storage, can generate sufficient and secure energy supply at every hour throughout the year. The sustainable energy system would be more cost effective than the existing system, which is primarily based on fossil fuels and nuclear energy. The energy transition is not a question of technical feasibility or economic viability, but one of political will.”
The study employed a sophisticated model to demonstrate the technical and economic feasibility of the energy system transition in Europe. However, like many engineering analyses, the study leaves the human dimension – political will, stakeholder decision making, and public engagement – virtually absent from the analysis. How should we be thinking about the human dimension, which is crucial to the energy system transition, in our work?
In this session, we will hear from three individuals who are working to bridge the human-technical divide. First, Mark O’Malley (Chief Scientist, Energy Systems Integration at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory) will discuss whether engineering can and should adapt to the human condition. Mark brings his electrical engineering background into collaborations with economists, social scientists, regulators, and policy makers as an advisor on the board of the European Platform for Energy Research in the Socio-Economic Nexus. Next, James Meadowcroft (Canada Research Chair in Governance for Sustainable Development and Professor in both the Department of Political Science and the School of Public Policy and Administration at Carleton University) will discuss taking transitions seriously: what transitions matter, and how to think of climate policy and energy transitions differently. James recently launched the Transition Pathways Accelerator, an incubator that links people’s vision of the future with the path required to get there. Pathway would include business models, social barriers, policies, but most importantly would be developed from the bottom up. Finally, Duncan Cavens (partner at C2MP, a Vancouver and Victoria-based planning consulting firm) closes the engineering-human divide through mediated modelling workshops with his Climate Action Navigator (CAN) tool. In his talk, using interactive energy models for municipal energy planning: lessons learned, Duncan will discuss the successes in fostering positive workshops as well as the challenges with translating workshop results into concrete policy actions. Duncan’s talk will focus on describing the goals of the interactive model, the resulting design of its interface, his experiences with stakeholders, and how to better align modelling tools with the needs of local governments.
With three different perspectives and approaches, this panel will consider the urgency and practicality of bridging the engineering-human divide.


14:30 - CleanBC

CleanBC: implementation and next steps

Speaker: Chris Gilmore, BC Government, Climate Partnerships and Engagement Branch, Executive Director

15:00 - Break

Coffee, refreshments and light snacks are provided.

15:15 - Panel 8 - Transformation in Conversation

A discussion of key challenges and opportunities

Moderator: Robert Gifford, Psychology

Keywan RiahiDirector, Energy Program, International Institute for Applied Systems Analsyis
Stephanie Pincetl, UCLA, California Center for Sustainable Communities
Andrew Pape-Salmon, BC MAH, Building and Safety Standards, Executive Director
James Meadowcroft, Carleton University, School of Public Policy and Administration

To close EnVision 2019, we revisit the various topics and discussions touched upon in the previous sessions. Unasked and unanswered questions collected during the conference will provoke further conversation between panelists and attendees.

16:15 - Final Remarks

Dr. Andrew Rowe summarizes EnVision 2019.

16:30 - Cake - Celebrating IESVic's 30th Birthday

Join us for some cake to celebrate IESVic's 30th birthday.