CanREA’s Operations Summit 2023 Brings Together Canada’s Leading Industry Operators

April 12, 2023

Canada’s largest wind, solar and energy-storage operations event puts technological efficiency, innovative solutions and workforce development center stage.

Nearly 350 operations professionals from the renewable energy sector gathered in Toronto on April 4th for CanREA’s Operations Summit 2023, the country’s largest wind, solar and energy-storage operations event. It was CanREA’s largest Operations Summit to date, reflecting an increasing interest in technical operations as the sector rapidly evolves.

“With the tremendous growth we are seeing in the wind, solar and energy-storage sectors, it will be critical to optimize site operations. We need to uphold the highest standards for efficiency, health and safety and environmental responsibility, while ensuring we have the workforce in place to scale up deployment to reach net-zero,” said Vittoria Bellissimo, CanREA’s President and CEO.

Vittoria Bellissimo, CanREA’s President and CEO

The theme of this year’s event was efficiency, supported by a streamlined program of interesting panel discussions, engaging presentations and unparalleled networking opportunities. The program was introduced by Mathieu Côté, CanREA’s Operations Program Director.

“The Operations Summit is THE opportunity for renewables operators to get together, learn from one another and zero in on the issues that will keep our wind, solar and storage assets running at peak efficiency,” said Côté.

The Canadian Renewable Energy Association welcomed nearly 350 renewable energy operations professionals at the CanREA Operations Summit 2023 on April 4 in Toronto. 

State of the Sector

The conference opened with an important panel discussion on the state of the sector today. Speakers from leading CanREA member companies, CanREA’s Board of Directors and key industry partners, such as Electricity Human Resources Canada, discussed which technical innovations and labour developments are helping to move the needle for renewable energy in this country, and how can we move quickly to achieve the goals set out in CanREA’s 2050 Vision.

Photo, from left to right: Phil McKay, Senior Director, Technical & Utility Affairs, CanREA; Rob Miller, Manager, Solar Operations, Northland Power Inc.; Ian MacRobbie, Vice President, Operations, Liberty Power; Paul van der Weg, Managing Director, Siemens Canada, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy; Mark Chapeskie, Vice President of Program Development, Electricity Human Resources Canada.

Technical Know-How

The Operations Summit featured two educational tracks:  a workforce development track, which explored how employers can improve recruitment, internal development, training and employee retention as the industry prepares to fill more and more job positions, and a technical track.

The technical track was packed with valuable insight from leading industry operators, from end-of-life planning to data mining, in sessions such as “Beyond the PPA,” “Your analysis, Mr. Data?” and “ICE ICE BABY: Preventative icing solutions.” The closing session on Fleet Electrification discussed the important shift to emissions-free service vehicles.

“Once again, Siemens Gamesa is proud to support CanREA’s Operations Summit,” said Paul van der Weg, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy’s Managing Director, Canada. “Safe, reliable, and clean energy is vital to the health of Canada and the world, and this event gives us the opportunity to share best practices across the industry and ensure that our customers can make the most of the benefits of renewables.”

Paul van der Weg, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy’s Managing Director, Canada

In addition to the structured education sessions, the schedule offered attendees plenty of time to make powerful connections in the networking lounge and at an exclusive evening reception. Conference participants even had the opportunity to enjoy test-driving electric vehicles provided by Plug’n Drive, just outside the venue.

Photo: More than 26 companies exhibited at CanREA’s Operations Summit 2023.

Supporting Canada’s Growing Renewables Workforce

In a special plenary session, CanREA was proud to launch its National Workforce Strategy at the Operations Summit. This report is a first in the exploration of Canada’s workforce development needs in the context of CanREA’s 2050 Vision, which calls for nearly a ten-fold expansion of wind and solar.

“A strong renewable energy workforce is essential to meeting national net-zero GHG emissions goals and achieving the expansion outlined in CanREA’s 2050 Vision,” said lead author Mary MacLean, CanREA’s Environment, Health & Safety (EHS) and Workforce Development Coordinator.

“To keep the workforce growing at the pace needed, new workers, including youth and those seeking a career transition, must be encouraged to enter the industry and supported as they climb the ladder into leadership positions.”

Mary MacLean, CanREA’s Environment, Health & Safety (EHS) and Workforce Development Coordinator
Read more about CanREA’s National Workforce Strategy here.
Photo: CanREA launches its National Workforce Strategy at the CanREA Operations Summit 2023. From left to right: Phil McKay, Senior Director, Technical & Utility Affairs; Mary MacLean, Environment, Health & Safety and Workforce Development Coordinator; Mathieu Côté, Director, Operations Program.
Don’t miss the Operations Summit 2024, in Calgary, Alberta! For more information, visit the event page here.

Acknowledgments

CanREA thanks all presenters, attendees, exhibitors and sponsors for making the conference a success. A special thank you to Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy Ltd. for supporting the event as a Presenting Sponsor. CanREA also thanks Health and Safety Sponsor Enbridge, Networking Lounge Sponsor Goldwind Americas, Mobile App Sponsor Energy Safety Canada, Lunch Sponsors Pandell and Procore, and Event Sponsors ATCO, Pattern Canada and the Work Based Learning Consortium. CanREA would also like to thank Operations Summit’s Media Partners, PVBuzz Media and Environment Journal.

Quotes

“With the tremendous growth we are seeing in the wind, solar and energy-storage sectors, it will be critical to optimize site operations. We need to uphold the highest standards for efficiency, health and safety and environmental responsibility, while ensuring we have the workforce in place to scale up deployment to reach net-zero.”—Vittoria Bellissimo, President and CEO, CanREA

“The Operations Summit is THE opportunity for renewables operators to get together, learn from one another and zero in on the issues that will keep our wind, solar and storage assets running at peak efficiency.”— Mathieu Côté, Operations Program Director, CanREA

“Once again, Siemens Gamesa is proud to support CanREA’s Operations Summit, Safe, reliable, and clean energy is vital to the health of Canada and the world, and this event gives us the opportunity to share best practices across the industry and ensure that our customers can make the most of the benefits of renewables.”— Paul van der Weg,  Managing Director, Siemens Canada, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy

“A strong renewable energy workforce is essential to meeting national net-zero GHG emissions goals and achieving the expansion outlined in CanREA’s 2050 Vision. To keep the workforce growing at the pace needed, new workers, including youth and those seeking a career transition, must be encouraged to enter the industry and supported as they climb the ladder into leadership positions.”— Mary MacLean, Environment, Health & Safety (EHS) and Workforce Development Coordinator, CanREA

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