Sauder GNW Oct 2015

Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia

October 19-23, 2015


Vancouver, Canada

Topic & Description:

Clean Energy and Green Infrastructure – Innovation at the nexus of politics and society

Climate and energy policy in North America have evolved into a highly fragmented mosaic of initiatives, with a strong emphasis on action at the state and provincial level. This is due, to some degree, to the lack of political support at the federal level in the US and Canada for comprehensive climate and energy policy and reflects the high diverse energy sub-economies across the continent. For instance, within Canada, British Columbia has very large hydroelectric assets that account for around 88% of power generation in the province, while neighbouring Alberta is heavily dependent on coal fired power generation. Within the US, coal still plays a very significant role in the power generation on a regional basis. Add to this the overlapping constitutional issues--for instance energy resources in Canada are constitutionally the domain of provinces, but federal agencies including Environment Canada and Fisheries and Ocean have some regulatory oversight—and the result is a complex and fragmented regulatory regime.

In this course, we will look at some the key features of the regulatory landscape, with a focus on Canada and California’s effort to price and regulate carbon. Given the vast land base of North America, we will examine the role of land base sequestration projects in achieving climate goals. Given the highly urbanized character of Canada, we will look at the role that cities can play as innovation laboratories, with a particular focus on the City of Vancouver and the University of British Columbia campus. In the final session, we will look at Westport Innovations, one of the more successful clean technology companies to emerge out of Canada and Nexterra, which introduced a sophisticated biomass heat and power solution into the market. The goal will be to understand the political and economic opportunities and challenges facing clean technology companies operating in North America.

Learning Objectives

By the end of the week, the participants in the course will be able to:

  1. Identify the major forms of climate policy in North America and evaluate the differences between their effectiveness;
  2. Distinguish the major forms of land use change projects and describe the contribution they can make to achieve emission reductions goals.
  3. Describe the conditions for a successful research and demonstration through real examples on the UBC campus;
  4. Describe the main factors supporting the successful growth of clean technology companies.

Course Instructor: Professor James Tansey, Executive Director, Centre for Social Innovation & Impact Investing