Press release

Smart Energy Communities in Cold Climates conference attracts rich offering of expert speakers

November 15, 2012

WINNIPEG—November 16, 2012—There has been a high level of international interest and support for next week's three-day conference, Smart Energy Communities in Cold Climates, which offers a rich program of speakers on a range of topics related to the creation of integrated community energy solutions (ICES).

With the support of many sponsors, the sixth annual conference and tradeshow hosted by QUEST (Quality Urban Energy Systems of Tomorrow), in partnership with energy concern Manitoba Hydro and the International Institute for Sustainable Development, officially begins on Monday, November 19 in Winnipeg.

The event is expected to be fully subscribed, drawing speakers from around the world and across Canada to advance the development of sustainable energy systems at the community level.

QUEST chair and former premier of British Columbia Michael Harcourt said the meeting will focus on how to improve the efficiency of energy, transportation, land use, water and waste systems in communities and thereby cut costs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and take a giant step in the direction of sustainability.

"ICES is a model that is being implemented worldwide to make better use of energy at the community level, where half of our greenhouse gas emissions are generated," said Harcourt, adding that 80 per cent of Canada's population lives in urban centres and that by 2050 half the world's population will be living in large cities. "Better use of energy in communities means reducing greenhouse gases across Canada and around the globe."

Henry David Venema, IISD vice-president, science and innovation, said the broad range of topics being covered reflects the importance of an integrated response to creating sustainable energy solutions. "IISD is pleased to be part of this event and to share our insights on how smart community energy systems generate multiple environmental and economic benefits," he said, adding that IISD's Lake Winnipeg bioeconomy project, which will be featured at the conference, is an example of how multiple co-benefits can be achieved.

Native Winnipegger Walt Patterson, an internationally renowned energy visionary and activist, will be the keynote speaker at a gala dinner to be held at Manitoba Hydro Place, the headquarters of Manitoba Hydro. Conference participants will also have an opportunity to tour this international award-winning green building and the geothermal heat pump system at The Forks.

Manitoba Hydro president & CEO Scott Thomson said: "Searching for innovative and sustainable energy solutions to meet the demands of communities located in cold climates is a challenge that many countries and provinces face. As such, Manitoba Hydro is pleased to be a partner in this event and to contribute to this important international discussion."

Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger said the province was proud to host and support the conference, aimed at fostering more collaboration on the development of ICES. "Investing in smart, green energy solutions of tomorrow is a priority for this government. It is through the work of this conference's participants that we believe true, lasting energy solutions can be developed."


For more information about the conference please contact Eric Campbell, QUEST manager, communications & engagement at 613-748-0057x322, email, or Nona Pelletier, IISD manager, public affairs at: +1 (204) 958-7740, mobile: +1 (204) 962-1303, or email

About IISD

The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is an award-winning independent think tank working to accelerate solutions for a stable climate, sustainable resource management, and fair economies. Our work inspires better decisions and sparks meaningful action to help people and the planet thrive. We shine a light on what can be achieved when governments, businesses, non-profits, and communities come together. IISD’s staff of more than 250 experts come from across the globe and from many disciplines. With offices in Winnipeg, Geneva, Ottawa, and Toronto, our work affects lives in nearly 100 countries.