VANCOUVER—Two of Canada’s oil and gas heavyweights are changing gears—and looking to build a more sustainable Canadian energy sector.
Suncor Energy Inc. and Cenovus Energy Inc. are teaming up with the BC Cleantech CEO Alliance to form Evok Innovations—a $100 million fund that aims to speed up the development and commercialization of clean technologies.
“Evok is uniquely placed to fuel the transition to a cleaner energy future,” Marty Reed, Evok’s CEO, said. “Using the extensive insights offered by our oil and gas partners, Evok can identify and fund promising cleantech innovations and accelerate the commercialization of those technologies.”
With up to $50 million in funding from both Suncor and Cenovus over the next 10 years, Evok says it will be able to increase the scale, diversity and quality of early-stage cleantech innovations, as well as reinforce B.C.’s position as a global technology hub.
“As British Columbia continues to grow as a clean technology innovation hub, creating opportunities for entrepreneurs to flourish, Evok is at the tip of the spear,” the province’s Premier, Christy Clark, said. “This partnership aligns perfectly with our new BCTECH Strategy, particularly the venture capital fund to help bolster the technology industry and diversify British Columbia’s economy.”
The fund will not stray too far from Suncor and Cenovus’s familiar energy sector, however. Evok will pursue cleantech innovations within the oil and gas industry—from those that lower carbon emissions to those that minimize the risk of spill or lead to more sustainable wastewater disposal.
Despite the limitation to oil and gas, industry leaders expect the fund to create jobs and help B.C. cleantech boom.
“By applying a flexible funding approach to meet the needs of cleantech entrepreneurs, Evok has the potential to leverage this investment from our partners to create numerous new cleantech companies and thousands of new jobs,” Jonathan Rhone, chair of the BC Cleantech CEO Alliance and CEO of Axine Water Technologies, said.