Canadian Biomass Magazine

Improving N. Ontario’s renewable energy sector

March 5, 2013
By John Tenpenny

March 5, 2013, North Bay, ON – Companies are being invited to come together to help develop solutions for the challenges facing Northern Ontario’s renewable energy sector.

The Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre (SSMIC), in partnership with the Biomass Innovation Centre (BIC), and under the initiative of RDÉE Ontario alliances and proudly supported by FedNor, is assembling a task force consisting of private sector companies operating in Northern Ontario’s renewable energy sector. The purpose of this initiative will be to jointly identify regional challenges being faced in the renewable energy sector, and to use this knowledge to develop and implement a solution to address these priority problems.

The event will be taking place in North Bay, Ont. on Tuesday, March 19th, 2013 from 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM at Nipissing University in Room F214. If you are interested in participating, or for more information, contact Megan Smith (705-474-3450 ext. 4117 or

Goals and Objectives – The overall vision is to ensure a first-rate working environment for an enduring and prosperous energy sector in Northern Ontario. To achieve this, we plan to recruit seven to twelve energy-related companies in the private sector with operations in Northern Ontario, and to use this pooled expertise to prioritize the most widespread regional challenges being faced in the renewable energy sector. Insights from the group will be used by SSMIC to develop a strategy to achieve the group’s vision of an improved renewable energy sector.

Event Concept – The Sector Improvement Strategy Event will essentially be an advanced brainstorming session to discuss the most widespread and significant challenge relating to Northern Ontario’s renewable energy sector. Before this session ends, the group will prioritize which sectorial challenges are considered to be the most critical; this will form the basis of a forthcoming regional Sector Improvement Strategy.


The event will make use of a series of project management tools that use fact-based, cross-functional criteria to break down complex issues into smaller, more manageable concepts and root causes. These tools will provide the platform to aid with quantifying the most common (and priority) challenges among the group.

Phase 1: Problem Identification – With SSMIC, BIC and RDÉE Ontario alliances serving as moderators, the task force will brainstorm the various challenges within Northern Ontario’s renewable energy sector. Following this, the group will systematically prioritize the most dominant challenges through an enhanced voting platform. This will form the basis of the actual Sector Improvement Strategy Event.

Phase 2: Solution Development – Once a strategic scope has been set through the Event, SSMIC will design an appropriate solution to address the priority challenges determined by the group. Members of the task force may be consulted throughout this process. The solution(s) herein will be the subject of a Sector Improvement Strategy.

Phase 3: Strategy Implementation – Once a strategy has been developed and approved by the task force, SSMIC will generate a detailed budget analysis, project framework and master timing for the Strategy implementation. SSMIC will be requesting the task force to make a financial commitment of up to 50% of the total cost for the Strategy Implementation, providing the successful leverage of the remaining funds through requests from FedNor, NOHFC, SSM CDC and/or SSM EDC, as well as internal funds through SSMIC and RDÉE Ontario alliances.

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