To Ron Dizy, energy transformation isn’t a technical issue; it’s social.
“These are solvable problems; we have the technologies,” says Dizy, managing director of the MaRS Advanced Energy Centre, which works to accelerate adoption of innovative energy technologies, then usher them into global markets.
“Ours are ‘human problems’—of aligning interests, the way participants view the system, and getting incentives in place. We just need to get people pulling in the right direction.”
He’s in the right gig to do so. Dizy’s outfit brings together different actors—utilities, entrepreneurs, non-profits, governments, academics—to open channels, wrangle issues, and lower barriers. For example, MaRS introduced a world-leading standard for open energy data. It also helped a utility join the creative planning process to transform a post-industrial site into a four million-square-foot mixed-use community.
Dizy, 50, sees his role as catalyst and connector. His team convenes “interventions” to recognize where the system isn’t working and offer a better way. The three-pronged, results-oriented approach addresses policy and regulation, solutions, and capacity. Ultimately, it’s a rolling stone concept: many small actions will bring about major change.
Energy is “one of those systems that needs to evolve and get smarter… It’s all about alignment of vision,” says Dizy, a hockey dad who spends his off days cooking big, dramatic meals. “Innovation will solve the problem. We just have to let it.”
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