Saeed Kaddoura went to school to become an engineer. However, at university, he found himself more curious about the environment. Throughout his time at school, he discovered two things: the environment was as risk and how a diversifying economy could help. Now, he’s trying to show people how to achieve that, at a leading think tank.

Kaddoura’s interest in the environment started when he took a couple of science electives at the University of Toronto during his engineering degree. Kaddoura then realized he didn’t want to be “designing, boring stuff and pumps for the rest of my life” and that he wanted to work in environmental engineering.

Kaddoura believes people always want to do good and that was his original motivation behind working in the environmental sector. Once he started to take more environmental science classes, Kaddoura was able to understand more about what’s impacting the earth.

Kaddoura said he was able “to understand when we talk about carbon dioxide, what that looks like chemically? How does it absorb into the environment? How does it react in the atmosphere?”

Kaddoura started learning more about the impacts of carbon dioxide when he was 19 or 20 years old, and he quickly realized it was threatening the planet.

solar panels WEBKaddoura believes the economy can be diversified, as a transition to renewable energy could result in more jobs. Photo by American Public Power Association, provided by Unsplash

Once he came to the realization that we need to have net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, he started to feel overwhelmed. A majority of the world’s economies are based on fossil fuels — Kaddoura believes that overall, we are moving in the right direction but not as fast as we need to be.

However, Kaddoura wants to speed up this process by diversifying our economy with renewables.

“Our economy’s tied to the oil price. But by diversifying our economy, not only do we create opportunities for more jobs, but we also create this stability where people aren’t worried,” he said.

Alberta has resources that can help with that diversification. As proof, Kaddoura points to the fact that the province has “the biggest solar project in western Canada, which is 17 megawatts for a scale.” Even TC Energy is making a big investment in solar energy, demonstrating that “oil and gas companies are now investing in renewables.”

By switching from fossil fuels to renewables, Kaddoura believes that we can create economic opportunities that last forever.

Kaddoura is now working at the Pembina Institute, where he is examining the complexities in having a sustainable low carbon economy.

The Pembina Institute is a non-government organization/non-profit think tank that provides research, analysis and recommendations to inform policies and practices related to energy.

At the Pembina Institute, Kaddoura works on a website called “New Energy Economy”, where he explores the transition to a green or low carbon economy for Albertans.
On the website, viewers can explore a map that shows stories about the people who are working on low carbon projects in Alberta.

“You can zoom into Calgary, Red Deer and see what’s going on around you, in regards to renewable projects,” he said.

wind turbines webWith renewable energy sources, Kaddoura believes the energy transition can be available to anyone. Photo by Zbynek Burival, provided by Unsplash

At the Pembina Institute, Kaddoura works on a website called “New Energy Economy”, where he explores the transition to a green or low carbon economy for Albertans.

On the website, you can find projects like a house that doesn’t have a furnace, but can stay warm in sub-zero temperatures just because of its design features. Kaddoura also works at the Business Renewable Centre, which is a member-based organization that brings together companies that want to buy renewable electricity for economic or sustainability goals.

The Business Renewable Centre puts buyers and renewable energy project developers together in the same room online. It helps developers who don’t have the capital to connect with buyers, or vice versa.

Kaddoura hopes that, with these online resources, he can show an oil and gas person what renewable energy possibilities there are in Alberta and give them a new perspective on what Alberta could look like in the future.

Editor: Miguel Ibe |

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