Solution Space: Energy Futures Lab

Empowering innovators and influencers across divides to create the energy system of tomorrow, together.

Innovators in Alberta are courageously leaning in to tackle the most complex challenges of the energy transition.

Alison Cretney

Managing Director

Energy Futures Lab

The Energy Futures Lab unlocks non-partisan action to solve Alberta’s, and Canada’s, most complex energy system challenges. By harnessing the power of diversity, the Lab creates trusted spaces where energy system actors collaboratively surface and advance innovative solutions.

The challenge and opportunity

For years, Alberta’s energy system has been at the centre of a fragmented and divisive national debate about Canada’s climate and energy future. The complexity of transitioning Canada’s energy system to achieve net-zero is a challenge this country can and must rise to. But it won’t and can’t if it is divided by distrust and polarization. Every region must be at the table, and none more than Alberta.

For nearly a century, the province has been a leader in energy innovation. Alberta has the skills and assets to help Canada achieve net-zero inclusively, equitably, and prosperously. But moving forward requires unprecedented collaboration and innovation that unifies energy system players across communities, sectors and divides. The good news is, Alberta’s innovators are leaning into the tensions and doing the hard work to advance solutions.

Our approach

Grounded and based in Alberta, the Energy Futures Lab understands how local expertise in everything from subsurface to engineering to AI can be leveraged to address the problem of carbon pollution while simultaneously strengthening Canada’s economy and creating opportunities for net-zero aligned growth. The Lab creates the social infrastructure necessary for the accelerated and successful adoption of technological and innovative solutions as we create the future energy system.

By thoughtfully and deliberately building committed and trusting communities of practice, the Lab unleashes the power of the “radical middle” to accelerate Canada’s energy transition. From supporting an emerging critical minerals industry, to helping realign Alberta’s electricity sector, to identifying the province’s competitive new growth sectors in a transitioning world—the Lab enables new ideas to take root and flourish.

To learn more, contact Erin Romanchuk, Deputy Director:

Visit The Energy Future’s Lab Website

Innovators in Alberta are courageously leaning in to tackle the most complex challenges of the energy transition.

Alison Cretney

Managing Director

Meet our experts

These big, messy challenges won’t be solved by a single person or organization. They require creative and collaborative responses. We’re a space to do that difficult work well, together.

Alison oversees the strategic direction and operations of the Energy Futures Lab, an Alberta-based social innovation lab that convenes diverse innovators and leading organizations to accelerate Canada’s energy transition and develop solutions for a low-emission and socially equitable energy future.

With over twenty years experience working at the cross-section of energy and environment, Alison is known for forging collaborative solutions to some of our biggest challenges – whether as engineer, sustainability advisor, or social innovator. She is passionate about transforming fragmented and polarized conversations into actionable solutions and has a strong background in building relationships across diverse groups and perspectives. Alison has expertise integrating sustainability issues and systems thinking into decision-making and design, analyzing emerging sustainable business opportunities, climate strategy and carbon management, and innovation lab approaches.

In her work with the Energy Futures Lab, she supports entrepreneurs, community leaders, industry, stakeholders and Rights holders in generating opportunities to identify, test and scale new initiatives and collaborations. Her leadership and advocacy has enabled a wider recognition of the spectrum of opportunities for Alberta to lead in the energy transition and build upon the province’s many strengths.

Alison is a professional engineer with a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from the University of Alberta. She has a Masters of Science in Strategic Leadership towards Sustainability from Blekinge Institute of Technology, Sweden with a focus on participatory engagement approaches to planning for strategic sustainable development.

I appreciate the significant effort it takes to tackle complex challenges, and I’m here to work with diverse perspectives to get to transformational solutions in the best, quickest way possible.

Erin is a sustainability strategist who excels at planning processes, relationship building and facilitating diverse parties towards achieving a shared and meaningful outcome. Erin has provided services as an Environmental Consultant with The City of Calgary, applying her knowledge of sustainability to major transportation projects and sustainability strategies. She has also gained experience as a Sustainability Planner with the Whistler Centre for Sustainability, updating indicators for Whistler2020 and working with communities to create their Integrated Community Sustainability Plans. Other experience includes providing carbon analytical services to ENDS Carbon, and working with the WWF Danube Carpathian Programme Office developing a Communications Strategy for smart river basin management. Erin is an experienced municipal government employee having held lead roles in large-scale conservation initiatives, strategic planning processes, and indicator development and reporting.

Erin is a certified Environmental Professional and holds a Master’s of Science in Strategic Leadership towards Sustainability from the Blekinge Institute of Technology in Karlskrona, Sweden, where her thesis research focused on the development of indicators for a successful planning process.

The power of partnership

Serving as a bridge between the work of the Lab and the broader innovation ecosystem, our partners help enable and integrate lab-generated solutions, pose challenges to the Lab based on their own innovation priorities, help secure required resources, and act as champions and connectors for the Lab in their networks.

Collaborating to innovate Alberta’s electricity future

How an AI-powerd “sandbox” could help us imagine and plan for the electricity grids our future demands

Partnerships and collaboration are critical for us to address the complexities and opportunities that come with a carbon neutral future. We’ll go farther and faster together as we address gaps in the innovation system and barriers to technology commercialization, while striving to meet and exceed our environmental and economic goals.

Justin Riemer

CEO, Emissions Reduction Alberta, Emissions Reduction Alberta

We will not solve complex challenges like Canada’s energy transition by avoiding difficult topics. The Energy Futures Lab and Foresight create a space where committed innovators can lean into honest conversations and arrive somewhere new together. This is innovation.

David Yiptong

Regional Director, Alberta, Foresight Canada

SEF believes in bringing people together who have a strong sense of calling to address complex problems. At one event where we did that, we noticed participants didn’t want to leave. They had made new connections and wanted to keep connecting. One of those connections led to the creation of the Energy Futures Lab – and we love what has resulted from bringing together nonprofits, engineers, artists and policy makers to develop solutions for a low-emission and socially equitable energy future.

Kelli Stevens

Manager, Suncor Energy Foundation, Suncor Energy Foundation

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