Conference brings together stakeholders to tackle energy education
“Make it simple to understand the impact and give them the data they need,” said Chris Loughren, Manager, Commercial Energy Solutions, Bruce Power Direct (BPD).
Loughren was speaking to a small but diverse and influential group of energy industry stakeholders at a conference on energy literacy in downtown Toronto Tuesday.
“Instead of talking about energy in kilowatt-hours, explain it in other business terms,” Loughren stressed, pointing to a BPD client that’s a large dairy manufacturer as an example.
“We are working with them to convert their energy cost from the esoteric ‘kilowatt’ and ‘kilowatt-hour’ —that only the engineers fully understand—to a cost of energy per pound of dairy product produced. This way, more people within the company can understand the impact.”
The event, titled “Accelerate 2015, International Conference on Energy Literacy,” brought together an international selection of NGOs, representatives from various universities, levels of government, and industry to discuss ways in which energy education can be improved.
“We find that people working in energy literacy are working in silos,” explained Katie Ungard, Project Manager with Energy Exchange, the organization behind the conference.“Together we can do so much more than all working on our own on these issues.”
The right choices for the long-term
Energy Exchange is dedicated to advancing energy literacy in Canada. The organization sees a future where “Canadians are united in their energy prosperity, rather than divided by their energy options.”
That was one of Samira Viswanathan’s, Market Regulatory Affairs Advisor, BPD, key takeaways from the event. “It’s really about putting aside personal beliefs, agendas and engaging in dialogue,” she said, adding that “energy literacy can be an enabler to increased investment in the sector.”
For Loughren, it was Other Lab’s Saul Griffith’s talk on the importance of making the right investment decisions. “Those decisions have a long-time horizon, and if we make a poor decision, it’s 50 to 100 years before we can correct it,” Loughren said, referencing Griffith’s words. “If we want any sort of reasonable business or climate outcome, we can’t afford to make those mistakes. We need to make the right decisions with every decision.”
Griffith was only one of a handful of speakers at the conference that spoke on a range of subjects under the energy umbrella—transportation, oil and gas, emerging technologies and energy alternatives, and policy and regulations, to name a few.
The conference’s focus on understanding energy aligned with BPD’s approach and message to customers: understand, mange and then control. Parent company Bruce Power was also a “Visionary” sponsor of the conference.
“Energy decisions are some of the longest term decisions we make,” Loughren summed up after the event. “Energy literacy is critical to making sure that we have informed people having an informed debate about these energy issues so we can make the right choices for today, and for the long term.”