The 2020-22 Catalysts cohort gathered in Alton, Ontario, for the final on-site of the program. During the final week of the program, the 20/20 Catalysts learnt from experts through shared experiences and lessons from past projects and toured various clean energy projects both on and off grid, such as solar and wind farming, microgrids and storage. Over the past three weeks, the 20/20 Catalysts have bonded over a common interest: clean energy. However, throughout our time in Kelowna, Iqaluit and Alton, we all learnt that we had much more in common with each other and were able to build a community that will never be broken or forgotten.
On the first day of the week, we travelled to the Millcroft Inn and Spa in Alton, Ontario and headed straight into an intense session on Financial Analysis and Modelling with mentors Chris Henderson and Bill Touzel. Following the session, we had our group dinner and travelled to GoodLot Brewery for a tour of the facility. GoodLot is working to be a sustainability leader and works within an eco-renovated converted barn brewery powered by 20KW of solar power. Our partners at GoodLot are always so welcoming and have been amazing partners for years. The tour did not disappoint.
On the second day of the program, the group travelled to Six Nations of the Grand River, the only reserve in North America where all six Haudenosaunee nations live together. The Catalysts were greeted by knowledge keeper Joe Martin who opened the group in a good way. The group then heard from Matt Jamieson of the Tuscarora Nation and CEO of the Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corporation on his project experience at SNGRDC. The rest of the day, Catalysts heard from our partners at Ontario Power Generation and spent the afternoon touring the Nanticoke Solar Facility. This solar facility can generate 44 MW of clean, renewable power for the province. We then travelled to Grand Renewable Wind Facility, which produces 149 MW of energy.
We then spent a day of sessions hearing from mentors Cara Sanders and Jim Leonard on their clean energy journeys and headed straight into sessions with our mentors on Clean Energy Entrepreneurship and Clean Energy Employment and Contracting. Throughout the day, the Catalysts had the opportunity to drive various electric vehicles brought to them by Plug’n Drive. Plug’n Drive is a non-profit committed to accelerating the adoption of electric vehicles in order to maximize their environmental and economic benefits. Our day ended with dinner and a relaxing evening by the bonfire.
The next day we travelled to a tour of the Control Centre at the Independent Electricity Systems Operator (IESO); the IESO is the coordinator of Ontario’s electricity system and monitors the energy needs of the province in real-time. The folks at IESO were so welcoming and answered every Catalyst's questions. Following this tour, we travelled to Downtown Toronto to tour Schneider Electric’s Smart Grid Lab within Toronto Metropolitan University. We ended the day with a session on Project Financing by mentor Cherie Brant.
The week ended with Indigenous Clean Energy’s 5th Annual National Indigenous Clean Energy Forum, where clean energy industry professionals had the opportunity to hear presentations from each of the 20/20 Catalysts. Catalysts presented on projects they were working on before and during the Catalyst program and what they will be pursuing after their time in the program. The Catalysts captivated the audience with their own personal clean energy journey and left all in attendance feeling motivated and inspired.
Following the forum, the Catalysts and 20/20 team joined together for a final celebration dinner and farewells. The time shared in the 20/20 Catalyst Program was described as life-changing, transformative and the experience of a lifetime.
“These fine folks from across the country have become family in such a short amount of time. Each sharing their gifts and projects with our group to aid in our collective learning and even to inspire our personal journeys has been my favourite part. It’s these people who make me grateful for this experience. From sessions to long bus rides and cross-country flights, our group bonded over a love for our communities, renewable energy, and the future of both” – Taylor Behn-Tsakoza, 20/20 Catalyst
The 20/20 team sends a huge thank you to all our partners, mentors and staff, both on and off-site, who have contributed to the success of the 20/20 Catalysts Program. Finally, to the 20/20 Catalysts who took the time to join in this in the journey. Their drive, determination and dedication to this program have been inspirational to all who had the opportunity to witness it.
“Over the past three on-sites, strangers have turned into friends, and friends have turned into family. The 20/20 Catalysts have inspired me to become a better person, to grow, learn and listen. I am so honoured to have had the opportunity to share space with a group of people who are making real change for the climate and for future generations” – Justice Morningstar, 20/20 Catalysts Program Manager
We are now welcoming applications for the 2023 and 2024 cohort. Learn more and apply today at: https://indigenouscleanenergy.com/2020-catalysts-program/
This sounds absolutely amazing! Congratulations to all of the 20/20 Catalysts from this year's cohort! I can't wait to hear about your projects, and to learn from you all! Wonderful work by wonderful people! :-)