Energy summit unites both sides of border

Students and industry professionals traded big ideas and projects on energy issues on both sides of the Canadian border. “The Power from the North Conference,” a major regional energy summit, was held in the Davis Center March 23 and 24.

Topics on the first day were  the social, economic and environmental consequences of possible  projects. There was also a discussion about establishing the ways in which Quebec might help in reducing carbon emissions from the electric grid  in Vermont, according to the U.S. Embassy’s website. The second day was more focused on providing a space to form partnerships between Quebec and New England  as well as discussing business ventures and technology.

Students presented their related research to attendees of the conference in order to further discussion, according to the website. First-year student and ecological agriculture major Sam Brown was one of the students to attend the two day conference. “It was special to see so many young people working with professionals and well-educated adults to collaborate and foster new ideas about energy systems,” Brown said. “I remember walking in and thinking it was so awesome to hear so many different languages and see people from different schools in one room, working together.”

In terms of energy exchange, Canada and the United States are in no way unfamiliar to one another, according to the U.S. Embassy’s website. The two countries comprise the largest integrated energy market on the planet, according to the U.S. Embassy. Canadian companies such as HydroQuébec among others have sought to expand their markets into the south, according to the embassy. UVM alumni Seth Bowden, the director of business development for Greater Burlington Industrial Corporation was one of many representatives for companies seeking to design new business plans between the border.

“It really is great to see Vermont working with companies from Montreal and spread across the border as they share many of the same problems in keeping the grid intact,” Bowden said.  “Considering that we are much closer to Montreal as opposed to Boston, it makes communication and operations much easier.”

Vermont, the Northeast and areas  throughout the Quebec province hope to see the effects of the conference in the form of reliable and affordable energy across the grid, according to handouts given at the conference.