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1,000 jobs will be created by $1.2B green energy partnerships between companies, First Nations

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Five new green energy collaborations between private companies and Alberta First Nations are expected to create 1,000 jobs and enough renewable electricity to power nearly 300,000 homes.

The partnerships are the latest phase of the provincial government’s renewable energy program.

“We’re very fortunate that the Alberta government has understood us. They appreciate the need for us to become involved on the business side of alternative energy. It’s a milestone,” said Chief Roy Fox of Kainai First Nation on Monday.

“We’ve been in the oil and gas sector for about seven decades … so this is another opportunity we feel the creator has given us.”

The five projects, which are expected to be running by mid-2021 are as follows.

  • The 207-megawatt Windrise project will be built southwest of Fort MacLeod by TransAlta.
  • The 202-megawatt Cypress Wind Power project near Medicine Hat will be built by EDF Renewables Canada in partnership with Kainai First Nation.
  • The 48-megawatt Buffalo Atlee wind farms near Brooks will be built by Capstone Infrastructure in partnership with Sawridge First Nation.
  • The 113-megawatt Stirling Wind project near Lethbridge will be built by Potentia Renewables, in partnership with Greengate Power Corporation and Paul First Nation.
  • The 193-megawatt Jenner Wind project near Brooks will be built by Potentia Renewables.

Environment Minister Shannon Phillips said the projects include a minimum 25 per cent Indigenous equity component, and will bring an estimated $175 million in rural benefits like landowner payments and municipal revenues.

“For too long Indigenous communities have been left out of the overall economic benefits of whatever the resource under consideration,” said Phillips at the announcement in Calgary.

“With this program, we are making sure that as we build on our traditional strengths in the new economy that we also have new opportunities for Indigenous peoples.”

3.9 cents per kWh

The average weighted price of energy for the projects will be a low 3.9 cents per kilowatt hour — just shy of the record-low Canadian price of 3.7 Alberta hit last year. For comparison, a 2016 Ontario procurement was 8.5 cents per kilowatt hour.

The companies involved are a mix of Alberta-based, Ontario-based and international firms.

Ontario’s government cancelled hundreds of contracts for renewable energy projects this summer, many of which were multi-million-dollar projects in partnership with First Nations.

Construction on the five projects is set to begin in 2020.

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More groups join in support of women in STEM program at Carleton

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OTTAWA — Major companies and government partners are lending their support to Carleton University’s newly established Women in Engineering and Information Technology Program.

The list of supporters includes Mississauga-based construction company EllisDon.

The latest to announce their support for the program also include BlackBerry QNX, CIRA (Canadian Internet Registration Authority), Ericsson, Nokia, Solace, Trend Micro, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, CGI, Gastops, Leonardo DRS, Lockheed Martin Canada, Amdocs and Ross.

The program is officially set to launch this September.

It is being led by Carleton’s Faculty of Engineering and Design with the goal of establishing meaningful partnerships in support of women in STEM.  

The program will host events for women students to build relationships with industry and government partners, create mentorship opportunities, as well as establish a special fund to support allies at Carleton in meeting equity, diversity and inclusion goals.

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VR tech to revolutionize commercial driver training

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Serious Labs seems to have found a way from tragedy to triumph? The Edmonton-based firm designs and manufactures virtual reality simulators to standardize training programs for operators of heavy equipment such as aerial lifts, cranes, forklifts, and commercial trucks. These simulators enable operators to acquire and practice operational skills for the job safety and efficiency in a risk-free virtual environment so they can work more safely and efficiently.

The 2018 Humboldt bus catastrophe sent shock waves across the industry. The tragedy highlighted the need for standardized commercial driver training and testing. It also contributed to the acceleration of the federal government implementing a Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) program for Class 1 & 2 drivers currently being adopted across Canada. MELT is a much more rigorous standard that promotes safety and in-depth practice for new drivers.

Enter Serious Labs. By proposing to harness the power of virtual reality (VR), Serious Labs has earned considerable funding to develop a VR commercial truck driving simulator.

The Government of Alberta has awarded $1 million, and Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) is contributing an additional $2 million for the simulator development. Commercial deployment is estimated to begin in 2024, with the simulator to be made available across Canada and the United States, and with the Alberta Motor Transport Association (AMTA) helping to provide simulator tests to certify that driver trainees have attained the appropriate standard. West Tech Report recently took the opportunity to chat with Serious Labs CEO, Jim Colvin, about the environmental and labour benefits of VR Driver Training, as well as the unique way that Colvin went from angel investor to CEO of the company.

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Next-Gen Tech Company Pops on New Cover Detection Test

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While the world comes out of the initial stages of the pandemic, COVID-19 will be continue to be a threat for some time to come. Companies, such as Zen Graphene, are working on ways to detect the virus and its variants and are on the forefronts of technology.

Nanotechnology firm ZEN Graphene Solutions Ltd. (TSX-Venture:ZEN) (OTCPK:ZENYF), is working to develop technology to help detect the COVID-19 virus and its variants. The firm signed an exclusive agreement with McMaster University to be the global commercializing partner for a newly developed aptamer-based, SARS-CoV-2 rapid detection technology.

This patent-pending technology uses clinical samples from patients and was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The test is considered extremely accurate, scalable, saliva-based, affordable, and provides results in under 10 minutes.

Shares were trading up over 5% to $3.07 in early afternoon trade.

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