ECE Professor named fellow of Alberta's Energy Futures Lab

Dr. Petr Musilek will work with EFL toward their Alberta 2050 vision

Robyn Braun - 11 March 2020

ECE professor, Dr. Petr Musilek, has been named a fellow of the Energy Futures Lab. The Lab is a program run by The Natural Step Canada, a national non-government organization, which started in Ottawa in 2003 and is a leading member of The Natural Step International network. The organization's mission is to transition to a sustainable society. To this end, The Natural Step offers learning and advising services and also organizes labs, which bring together a range of stakeholders and experts to tackle our most complex social and environmental challenges through learning, experimentation and breakthrough.

The Energy Futures Lab asks, "How can Alberta's leadership position in today's energy system serve as a platform for transitioning to the energy system the future needs?" Convened by a group of stakeholders including energy companies, banks, government organizations and NGOs, the Lab has a 2050 vision for Alberta's energy future. For Dr. Musilek, his fellowship is a "win-win" situation.

"I am excited to bring the innovative work we do at the university in the energy domain to the EFL and to have the opportunity to bring my research into practice through the EFL," he explains. "It's a great chance for my students to gain valuable experience and insight into real-world problems. And the EFL and the community at large benefit from their fresh insights and perspectives."

As an EFL fellow, Musilek will also benefit from fresh ideas and perspectives.

"EFL fellows come from different kinds of groups from all over the province. I expect to gain a better understanding of the energy system as a whole and the implications for the environment and society," he says.

Dr. Musilek has already begun working on the EFL's Energy.AI project, which will establish collaborative initiatives that apply machine learning and AI to problems of climate change within the energy and power industries.

"I recently took part in the Energy Communities Accelerator in Drayton Valley, where we discussed how to advance the uptake of solar generation in Alberta communities," says Musilek.

In mid-march EFL community members will gather for a two-day retreat in Banff to develop the EFL vision. To develop a deeper understanding of the significance of different transition scenarios, the vision will be written up by science fiction writers. The hope is that these stories will enable a better understanding of the strategic implications of the different routes to sustainability.

For Musilek the summit will be a chance to deepen and develop connections with the other fellows.

"The focus of our attention will be the energy transition. It will require that we work closely with one another."