Sustainable Energy

Energy Innovation Centre

The Energy Innovation Centre (EIC) creates solutions for industry through applied research and education in alternative and renewable energy systems. 

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 student 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 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.

Alternative Energy Lab

The Alternative Energy Lab (AEL) is a research, teaching and learning facility. The AEL was purposely built as a component of a Green Campus Initiative at RDP which included the installation of almost 4,200 solar panels on the roofs and sides of three buildings on campus: the new student residence, the Gary W Harris Canada Games Centre and the AEL.  

Lab Specifications 

The AEL was designed to provide a physical and virtual platform for learning about alternative energy systems.

  • 5,274 square-foot, high volume and flexible open learning lab
  • Several project rooms and a large storage mezzanine for demonstration equipment
  • Trainers inside the lab can be operated and manipulated to help learners develop an understanding of energy production
  • Lab is LEED Silver, demonstrating both active and passive solar strategies and a teaching Combined Heat and Power unit
  • Flexible configuration of the physical space provides the ability to adapt to new energy systems and technologies as they emerge

Solar photovoltaic panels are installed on the roof of the AEL, allowing students and industry researchers to study data and information about energy generation by replicating real-world conditions, such as installation and seasonal variance. Students and researchers also learn from and analyze data generated by RDP’s other alternative energy sources.

Equipment within the AEL has been designed with mirrored technology in mind, replicating and simulating systems associated with alternative energy production units. RDP has combined heat and power units, one which produces energy for the campus and is located just outside the lab, and another smaller unit inside the lab, where students can learn on similar technology.

Industry Collaboration 

We collaborate with regional and provincial utilities, industries, builders and manufacturers to champion applied research on energy innovation projects. 

We want to foster relationships and leverage this diverse expertise to move on ideas that require input, and support industry stakeholders by:

  • Providing a source of relevant information on Alberta-specific clean technology
  • Collecting and sharing alternative energy performance data, creating a repository and shared learning opportunity for industry, and contributing to learning on data collection, analysis and the use of data in decision-making
  • Offering applied research services such as energy analysis, integration of renewable systems studies, power system simulation, and power and control equipment testing
  • Providing a physical space and virtual simulation platform for learning about alternative energy systems and offering real-time applied learning and training opportunities to industry and RDP students
  • Facilitating partnerships between industry, post-secondary institutions, community groups and members, and government
  • Contributing to the development of alternative energy literacy through education for students and other stakeholders

Data Sharing Alliance 

We are a proud member of the Data Sharing Alliance. Members collect and share weather and power solar array data to improve our collective understanding of performance across a wide variety of systems and to study and optimize system design according to Alberta conditions. This has several benefits, including more accurate predictions of alternative energy performance in the specified location and climate, showcasing new types of arrays and design options, benchmarking, and communicating to the industry and public. Analysis includes return on investment, performance, greenhouse gas reduction and optimization of the interface with utility providers.