Thursday, 12 November 2015 08:00

Meeting of the best national minds within S.E. Alta. energized college, symposium

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Hassan Farhangi, director/group for advanced information technology, British Columbia Institute of Technology in Burnaby, B.C. Farhangi is regarded for Canada’s first smart microgrid. Hassan Farhangi, director/group for advanced information technology, British Columbia Institute of Technology in Burnaby, B.C. Farhangi is regarded for Canada’s first smart microgrid.

Medicine Hat College is full of world-class instructors in a variety of disciplines. That knowledge and expertise in the field of energy and fuel was amped Nov. 5-7 as the CICan (Colleges and Institutes Canada) Energy Symposium 2015 was hosted by the college, with many discussions held in the Eresman Theatre.


Close to 110 delegates from urban and rural municipalities and colleges from across Canada attended.
Medicine Hat College President Dr. Denise Henning was pleased with how the event unfolded which had been organized starting about a year ago.
“We had some of the top researchers in Canada here,” explains Henning. “We had 110 registered. It was the perfect size for the first time and for what kind of information we were discussing.”
Henning was co-chair of the Rural and Remote College Alliance Canada/U.S. and through discussion with members of that organization gradually expanded to other post secondary groups. Finally a conference was organized through partnerships which included Colleges and Institutes Canada and the British Columbia Institute of Technology.
Henning explains the rural and remote colleges particularly have to address energy issues and extract power in the most creative and economically and environmentally-viable ways.
“It’s what we call, green, mean and in-between,” notes Henning in reference to using aspects such as solar and wind power, being able to extract and tap into the at energy and then using hybrid approaches. She says while being environmentally friendly is good and should be done more, stoping use of petroleum-based products at this point in time isn’t realistic. Motorized vehicles aren’t the only things which use petroleum-based products.
“Absolutely everything we do or use has petroleum in it,” Henning says. “It’s great to ‘Go Green’, but to stop using oil altogether (all at once) would be such a shock to everything we use.”
Symposium guest speakers included Eric Deschênes, vice-president, of energy business for Schneider Electric Canada who addressed energy megatrends; Murray McLaughlin, executive director of Bioindustrial Innovation Canada who discussed cluster development around sustainable technology; and Jessica Dillabough, government relations and environment advisor / public and government affairs for Imperial Oil Limited who discussed the outlook for energy up to 2040.
There were also panel discussions where speakers made short presentations about a central topic and then conducted a short question and answer session.
An interesting one involved colleges using smart grids to their advantage. Speaking about this was Al Joseph a research scientist from Nova Scotia Community College, Shahram Karimi, industrial research chairman, Lambton College in Sarnia Ont. and Hassan Farhangi, director/group for advanced information technology, British Columbia Institute of Technology in Burnaby, B.C.
Farhangi is regarded for Canada’s first smart microgrid which was implemented at BCIT. A microgrid utilizes such things as renewable energy resources, smart meters and energy-efficient systems and instruments to distribute power.
As well an interesting discussion took place on indigenous views on energy partnerships which had elder Deborah Lloyd, Kory Wilson from the Vancouver Community College and Dan Guinan president of the NEC native education college host a keynote panel.
Henning was pleased to connect some of these industry leaders with not only the college, but those municipalities in southeast Alberta and the City of Medicine Hat. On Nov. 5, there were tours of the area including the City of Medicine Hat’s solar thermal plant and the Canalta Centre.
All of this will bridge some gaps between local municipalities and some of the sharpest minds in the fuel and energy fields.
“Trades and technology, we need to be investing in those areas and taking advantage of areas like Brooks and Oyen and into southwest Sask.,” explains Henning. “We need to expand and find those synergys with them and that will spark growth.”

Read 3164 times Last modified on Thursday, 07 January 2016 06:15
Ryan Dahlman

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