UBC’s Clean Energy Research Centre to collaborate on research and education initiatives at Squamish’s Oceanfront development

The creation of a Squamish-based educational campus focused on the energy economy of the future is a step closer today with the announcement of a Statement of Cooperation, signed by the University of British Columbia’s Clean Energy Research Centre (UBC), the District of Squamish (DOS), Squamish Nation, Carbon Engineering, and Newport Beach Developments Limited Partnership (NBD). The agreement outlines how the organizations are exploring ways to collaborate towards establishing a centre for clean energy research and education as part of the iconic Squamish oceanfront development, located within the traditional territory of the Squamish Nation.

The four Squamish-based organizations – DOS, Squamish Nation, Carbon Engineering, and NBD – have formed the ­Squamish Clean Technology Association (SCTA) to seek out leading edge ventures that will help create an innovation hub focused on clean energy. The SCTA aspires to position Squamish as a world leader in climate change initiatives, and the Oceanfront as an incubator of clean energy innovation. The Statement of Cooperation with UBC’s Clean Energy Research Centre provides a major boost to this vision, as does the Carbon Engineering carbon capture project currently under way.

UBC’s Clean Energy Research Centre and the SCTA have outlined several areas to explore collaboration including:

  • Formulation of a joint strategy for training, research and innovation on such topics as sustainable energy sources, hydrogen, carbon capture, bioenergy, electrolysis and clean energy options for municipalities;
  • Delivery of advanced training in clean energy engineering through the expansion of the Master of Engineering Leadership in Clean Energy program to Squamish;
  • Development of enhanced educational access for First Nations’ students;
  • Research and development projects; scientific exchanges; and joint conferences, workshops, exhibitions;
  • Development of innovation and industrial incubation strategies for emerging clean energy sectors; and a general openness to cooperation across research and academic projects.


“Congratulations to all the partners in the Squamish Clean Technology Association. This MOU demonstrates the positive and collaborative approach taken to advance the development of a centre for clean energy research and education on the Squamish Oceanfront lands. This initiative may result in the creation of an incubator of clean technology innovation that will position Squamish as a world leader in climate change initiatives. Knowledge based green technologies provide significant employment benefits that complement the already diverse economic activities in the Sea to Sky.”

Jordan Sturdy, MLA – West Vancouver – Sea to Sky

“This is an important development in our goal to establish Squamish as a leader in initiatives designed to address the critical issue of our changing climate. We are thrilled to be working with the internationally renowned researchers of UBC’s Clean Energy Research Centre, and believe that this will be a catalyst to further attract interest in, what has the potential to become a global innovation hub right here in Squamish.”

Mayor Patricia Heintzman, District of Squamish

“Our people are witnessing firsthand the changes to the land and water as a result of climate change. We have chosen to become involved in the Hub to ensure we are taking a proactive and collaborative approach that embraces our teachings to be stewards of the land and water and create education and employment opportunities for current and future generations.”

Councillor Chris Lewis, Spokesperson, Squamish Nation

“Advanced education and research programs are essential to address the climate change challenge, but they will only work if they include links to effective innovation and commercialization strategies. The collaboration with our partners in Squamish provides a platform to showcase British Columbia’s leadership in community engagement and the development of clean energy solutions for the twenty first century.”

Walter Mérida, Director, University of British Columbia Clean Energy Research Centre

“We have received incredible support from Squamish District, Squamish First Nation, and the Province ever since we started work on our air capture demonstration project on the oceanfront. We think there is great promise for B.C. and Canada to deploy clean energy technologies at home and to export them to the world, so we’re excited to be a part of this initiative.”

Adrian Corless, Chief Executive Officer, Carbon Engineering

“We view the signing of the cooperation statement as a considerable milestone in terms of creating a clean energy engineering and research educational centre on the oceanfront. We are grateful to be in collaboration on such a magnificent project that will have a positive impact on the community of Squamish and global climate change.”

Michael Hutchison, Newport Beach Developments Limited Partnership

About the District of Squamish

The District of Squamish is a forward-thinking and responsive municipal government that strives for a resilient and thriving local economy. Fundamental to the “drive for clean energy” zeitgeist is the importance of protecting and respecting the community’s magnificent environment, being a proactive agent in adaptation and mitigation responses to climate change, promoting a positive, safe and healthy community lifestyle for citizens, and demonstrating leadership in doing so.

About the Squamish Nation

The Squamish Nation people have, since time immemorial, lived in villages in and around Greater Vancouver and the Sea to Sky region. Many of the Skwxwu7mesh stelmexw’s (Squamish People) reserve lands are along Howe Sound and the Squamish River Estuary. The Nation’s Xay Temixw (Sacred Land) Land Use Plan’s vision and policies embraces their role as stewards of the natural ecosystems and the protection and enhancement of these lands.

About the University of British Columbia Clean Energy Research Centre

The Clean Energy Research Centre’s (CERC) multi-disciplinary approach is dedicated to developing viable and sustainable energy solutions for British Columbia, Canada and the world. CERC hosts world-leading researchers who envision energy systems that simultaneously minimize environmental impact, promote geopolitical stability and enable economic diversification.

About Carbon Engineering

Carbon Engineering is a Canadian company and global leader in developing technology to capture carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere, to use to enable production of ultra-low carbon fuels from air, water and renewable electricity. A finalist for the $25 million Virgin Earth Challenge launched by Sir Richard Branson, the company operates a $9-million pilot plant in Squamish.

About Newport Beach Developments Limited Partnership

Newport Beach Developments is a Canadian land development company based in Squamish, and developer of the Squamish Oceanfront. It is a partnership between the Squamish Oceanfront Development Corporation and Squamish Cornerstone Developments Limited, a long-term development partner of the Squamish Nation. Newport is committed to developing initiatives that will provide educational and employment opportunities to put the Oceanfront on the national and world stage in tackling the global climate challenge head on.

About Squamish

Squamish is among the fastest growing communities in B.C. as new residents and entrepreneurs relocate to enjoy an unparalleled outdoors and recreation-based lifestyle. Located in the heart of Sea to Sky country, 45 minutes north of Vancouver and nestled between ocean and mountains, the small-town setting, spectacular natural environment, and world class recreation offer a balanced lifestyle few places can rival. Mountain biking, rock climbing, kite boarding, hiking, and snowsport opportunities abound. A diverse arts and culture scene is growing here, and a dedicated and passionate population strives to protect and enhance the fragile ecosystem that is at the heart of what characterizes the beautiful surroundings.

Source: UBC Applied Science

This story was also featured in Pique News.