MRO Magazine

CanREA’s Operations Summit focuses on flexibility issues

June 30, 2021 | By Maryam Farag

Phil McKay (right), and Jen Aitchison (left). Photo: The Canadian Renewable Energy Association.

Phil McKay (right), and Jen Aitchison (left).
Photo: The Canadian Renewable Energy Association.

The Canadian Renewable Energy Association (CanREA) hosted a one-day Operations Summit, focusing on the flexible management of Canada’s wind, solar and energy-storage sites.

“This event took place at a critical moment in time, as the renewable-energy industry prepares to ramp up to deliver on the kind of progress that will be needed to meet Canada’s climate targets as well as satisfy growing consumer demand,” said event organizer Phil McKay, Senior Director of Operations, CanREA. “Flexibility will be the key.”

A group of wind, solar and energy-storage operators, manufacturers, construction teams, researchers, government and supply-chain professionals attended the event, discussing the key factors that will influence their changing work over the next decade.

The event began with remarks by Chris Henderson, executive director of Indigenous clean energy, who spoke about real-world stories of renewable-energy partnerships with Indigenous communities that demonstrated how “a flexible mindset can deliver unexpected benefits.”


CanREA presented four core technical sessions, covering advanced grid operations, multi-tech workforce considerations, flexible site design and recycling.

Event highlights included a panel with the American Clean Power Association that formed a new organization in the past year by combining wind, solar, and energy-storage technologies.

“Flexibility creates unique opportunity but also potential challenges,” said Jen Aitchison, Senior Vice-President of Renewable Energy in Canada at Marsh, who serves as a member of the CanREA Board and the Operations Caucus Steering Committee. “Staying connected and having open dialogue is the best way to solve challenges we face today in operations, especially in a remote environment.”

According to Aitchison, by developing innovative solutions and best practices for the wind, solar and energy-storage industry, this keeps Canada at the “leading edge of global standards for health and safety, workforce development, grid integration, supply-chain logistics, data management, sustainability, accountability and the responsible recycling of obsolete technologies.”

“The groundwork we do now, through CanREA, aims to secure a seamless energy transition to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in Canada by 2050 that will provide benefits for generations,” said Aitchison.

“As the day progressed, each of our speakers led us further down this fascinating pathway, inspiring us to think flexibly and look to the future,” said McKay.



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