Energy Innovation Centre
The Energy Innovation Centre creates solutions for industry through applied research and education in alternative and renewable energy systems.
As an important part of Red Deer Polytechnic’s larger Alternative Energy Initiative, applied research in the EIC promotes the understanding and awareness of emerging clean technologies by industry, business, residents, and RDP students, which will lead to increased adoption.
Red Deer Polytechnic officially opened its Alternative Energy Lab (AEL) in February 2019 to serve as a research, teaching, and data hub that would remove barriers in adopting green technology and increase educational opportunities. RDP’s goal was to integrate student learning and applied research so that students and industry would have the ability to learn from live working systems as well as from lab space.
Those working systems include more than 4,000 photovoltaic solar panels installed on the roof of the AEL and across the main campus, as well as a 1 MW combined heat and power (CHP) unit which is installed just outside the AEL along with a smaller teaching CHP unit inside.
The solar panels installed on the AEL’s rooftop are primarily meant for research and education purposes. Data from all of these generation units is gathered and analyzed, replicating real-world conditions such as installation and seasonal variances. This provides real-world applications, comparison data, and information about energy generation for researchers and learners.
Delivering these learning, training, applied research, and innovation opportunities to students, industry, and community partners while also reducing the institution’s overall carbon footprint is part of RDP’s future-focused Green Campus Master Plan.
The market demand for sustainable technology is growing, and interest in alternative and renewable energy systems is being driven mainly by two factors which are in agreement with 2050 net-zero Canadian economy:
- the declining costs of new technology
- the desire to address climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions
The Energy Innovation Centre is both a physical and virtual hub, demonstrating the potential use and integration of new energy systems technologies and applications. We want to:
- Increase understanding and awareness in the community
- Exemplify the use and integration of alternative and renewable energy systems
- Provide access to relevant and local data and information
- Support industry in developing new solutions
- Make our state-of-the-art facilities available for industry and students training purposes
There is a regional need to promote and demonstrate new clean energy technologies and to do more in the areas of innovation, research, and development in order to extend Alberta’s traditional strengths to the clean energy sector. RDP is well positioned through infrastructure and partnerships to lead this work. By connecting RDP’s investments in high efficiency and alternative energy systems on campus to applied research, and teaching and learning opportunities, the EIC plays a key role in advancing the adoption of alternative and renewable energy systems in the province.