Edmonton, Calgary Are Clean Technology Cities to Watch in North America

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Companies hope to push Canada to be a world leader in clean technology

Edmonton is a North American leader when it comes to attracting clean technology investment and innovation.

That’s according to a report by a collection of companies leading clean tech work who will be presenting their findings at COP28, the United Nations annual climate change conference.

Clean tech looks at how companies and organizations can reduce emissions and focus on more environmentally conscious methods of reaching net-zero targets. 

Policymakers, advocates and researchers are among those who attend the conferences to decide on policies to limit global temperature rises and adapt to climate change.

Kendra MacDonald is the CEO of Canada’s Oceans Supercluster, which looks at industry investment and innovation. She is part of the team that is presenting the report at COP28. 

MacDonald said her team has done work looking at how “blue tech,” also known as the ocean economy and related technologies, can join forces with climate technology. 

“We really focus on changing the way we do business in the ocean by increasing digitalization, sustainability and inclusion,” MacDonald said in an interview. 

The Global Startup Ecosystem Report Climatetech Edition report, from Startup Genome, a worldwide policy advisory and research organization that collaborates among others with Canadian companies, found the top two clean tech “ecosystems to watch” in North America are Edmonton and Calgary.

The report also found that despite global slowdowns, Edmonton technology and innovation companies continue to attract the interest of investors.

Venture capital investment pulled in $76.3 million across 23 deals in 2022 and Edmonton continues to grow its reputation as a low-cost, high quality of life destination for startups looking to access young, educated talent. 

“As we think about ocean, we don’t always think about the centre of the country,” MacDonald said. 

“There’s so many tremendous technologies that are sitting in Alberta.” 

The report points to Edmonton software company Jobber, which raised $100 million US in venture capital funding, as one of the highlights of the city’s tech sector. 

Catherine Warren, CEO of the city-funded Edmonton Unlimited, said in the report that Edmonton is “an inclusive city of innovators tackling global challenges such as the climate emergency, public health and food security.”

The report notes that Edmonton has seven post-secondary institutions, including the University of Alberta, which is known for its AI, machine learning and clean tech innovations. 

P. Devereaux Jennings has done work in clean tech and teaches classes looking at the sector at the U of A’s School of Business. 

“Alberta in general has been leading, of course, in sectors around energy for a while, even before clean tech was very popular,” Jennings said.  

“In the last five years, with portfolios, switches over to renewable energies, more heavily people have invested in solar, geothermal, wind, a bunch of different specific areas of clean tech energy.” 

Jennings said the future will rely on being able to specialize when it comes to investment and innovation. 

“We’ve got the hydrogen hub, here in Alberta, it’s got the renewable, got other pipeline-related stuff,” Jennings said.

“It’s also been working a lot in forestry and tourism, those specializations in areas are going to become more and more important, rather than having, like broad brush, everybody’s trying to do the same thing.” 

Source : CBC