Why Calgary is Canada’s cleantech capital

With an abundance of renewable resources, cleantech innovators and world-class research and training centers, Calgary’s reputation as a cleantech capital is attracting global attention and luring international events and conferences within the natural resources sector.  

Ranked in the top 15 worldwide for cleantech ecosystems, Calgary is poised to lead Alberta, Canada – and the world – towards a greener future, led by pioneering technology set to revolutionize clean energy solutions.  

“Every layer of Calgary’s cleantech ecosystem is dedicated to the transition to a low carbon economy,” says Chris Brown, Business Development Manager, Energy & Environment. 

“Investments provided by our thriving energy industry and supportive government are enabling cleantech innovators to develop new solutions that will pave the way for Canada to thrive and flourish under the new economy.” 

Harnessing digital transformation 

Calgary’s energy sector is one of the fastest adopters of cleantech, with the industry forecast to spend $2.3 billion on digital transformation from 2022 to 2024. 

As the city’s major energy companies enthusiastically embrace this digital evolution, Calgary maintains its competitive advantage in an industry that increasingly relies on new technology to provide clean energy solutions.  

As we convert to new forms of energy, we require new forms of technology,” says Brown. “This presents a wonderful opportunity for Calgary’s talented researchers, entrepreneurs and technicians to create cutting-edge digital solutions that address the challenges we face in the shift towards a lower-carbon economy.

Chris Brown, Business Development Manager, Energy & Environment

The cleantech industry could represent a $3.8 trillion global economic opportunity by 2030 for businesses that can meet the growing needs for energy and food with less waste and fewer emissions. With more than 70 percent of Alberta’s cleantech head offices located in Calgary, the city is poised to own a significant chunk of this market share.  

The Alberta Clean Technology Industry Alliance (ACTia) is strengthening the cleantech ecosystem by supporting cleantech innovators, and fostering local and global connections between technology developers, entrepreneurs, investors and customers.  

“ACTia is a powerful tool to accelerate industry development and has become the first point of contact for Alberta’s cleantech community as a center of expertise,” says Brown.  

“The organization provides a cleantech ecosystem guide to help entrepreneurs navigate programs and services that could add to their ventures, as well as networking events, to encourage the sharing of ideas and inventions designed to tackle climate change challenges.” 

ACTia has joined forces with Alberta’s Foresight Cleantech Accelerator Centre and will be known as Foresight Alberta from September 2021.  

Having already supported more than 700 cleantech ventures, Foresight Canada is a powerful tool for the growth of Alberta’s cleantech ecosystems to ultimately achieve net-zero climate targets and decarbonization.  


Industry-led innovation 

Passionate Calgary-based thought-leaders, cleantech companies, research centers and investors are working together to make a difference in the creation of a sustainable future. 

Organizations like the Clean Resource Innovation Network (CRIN) are helping industry members achieve their commercialization goals faster by facilitating a team approach towards transforming energy systems and developing cleantech solutions to global environmental issues.  

With a vision to produce clean hydrocarbons from source to end-use, CRIN provides a platform for connecting entrepreneurs, investors, universities, government and research institutions to forge partnerships and achieve shared objectives in the cleantech sphere. 

“The revolutionary cleantech solutions being developed often have application to sectors outside of energy, including agriculture, manufacturing, mining and food processing, and many have the potential for global export,” says Brown. 

Similarly, Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA) is an alliance of oil sands producers focused on collaborative action to accelerate the pace of improvement in environmental performance in domestic oil sands. 

“COSIA aims to move the yardstick on the environmental impacts of producing oil, using the brightest minds across its member companies to develop innovations in the four key areas of greenhouse gases, land, water and tailings,” says Brown.  

Elevating business events 

As the city’s talent pool of cleantech thought leaders rapidly expands, international organizations and corporations are choosing Calgary as the ideal base for their business events and conferences, as they leverage passionate innovators and technical facilities to augment their programs.  

“Local cleantech professionals who are passionate about sharing their visions for a greener future can inspire business event delegates with immersive workshops and speakers’ series,” says David Woodward, Executive Director of Meetings & Conventions, Tourism Calgary. 

“By working closely with the Meetings & Conventions team at Tourism Calgary, event organizers can create programs that attract higher numbers of attendees, generate team bonding and ultimately provide an unforgettable meeting experience.”  

Calgary is equipped to host large-scale events, especially with $1 billion (CAD) of infrastructure investment focused on expanding the BMO Centre on Stampede Park, among other projects, making it the largest convention centre in Western Canada by 2024. 

Visitors to Calgary are greeted by an enticing mix of big-city energy and community spirit, alongside outdoor adventures galore, with Banff National Park on the city’s doorstep offering hiking, horse riding, biking and canoeing adventures among jaw-dropping mountain vistas.  

“Calgary serves up an abundance of cultural and outdoor team bonding exercises, from microbrewery tours, to surfing on the Bow River or experiencing North America’s fastest zipline!” says Woodward.  

Meetings with purpose 

By enriching speakers’ series with Calgary’s cleantech experts, or enriching programming with tours throughout the city and beyond, business event organizers can attract delegates, increase revenues, and inspire future generations.  

“We call that 'meeting with purpose’,” says Brown. “Calgary is poised to show off its natural resources ecosystems and the industry leaders who are trailblazing a greener future.” 

To learn more about Calgary’s role as a leader in the global energy transition, please visit www.yycenergyenvironment.ca  

To learn more about bringing your meeting or event to Calgary, visit www.visitcalgary.com/meetings or email info@meetingscalgary.com

Discover more about Canada’s natural resources business events HERE