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Centre for Urban Energy created with $7 million from founding sponsors

Centre for Urban Energy

The founding sponsors of the Centre for Urban Energy at Ryerson University are joined by Ryerson President Sheldon Levy and the Honourable Brad Duguid, Ontario’s Minister of Energy at a ceremony celebrating the creation of the Centre. From left: President Levy; Colin Andersen, CEO, Ontario Power Authority; Laura Formusa, president and CEO, Hydro One Inc.; Minister Duguid; Anthony Haines, president and CEO, Toronto Hydro Corporation.

Ryerson University today announced the creation of the Centre for Urban Energy (CUE), a unique research and technology demonstration centre devoted to the discovery and commercialization of innovative, practical solutions to urban energy issues. 

Most energy around the world is consumed in urban centres. Ryerson's CUE will bring together industries, government, and top researchers from across Canada and around the world to undertake a collaborative and multi-disciplinary approach to the study of urban energy. The CUE will combine engineering, science, environment, business, and infrastructure management to tackle immediate challenges such as development of clean energy technologies; energy conservation and demand management; alternative local energy generation; energy storage; carbon footprint reduction; and smart/adaptable infrastructure. The goal of the CUE is to help develop solutions to these and other challenges for urban centres around the world.

The Centre for Urban Energy will receive up to $7 million from three founding sponsors. Hydro One and Toronto Hydro-Electric System Limited (Toronto Hydro) have each committed $2.5 million over five years, while the Ontario Power Authority will provide up to $2 million during that same period. 

"The Centre for Urban Energy is one of Ryerson's most significant research and commercialization initiatives," said President Sheldon Levy. "It will directly address energy and environmental issues that affect every one of us, every day. We are extremely grateful for the support of our three founding sponsors, Hydro One, the Ontario Power Authority and Toronto Hydro for providing the seed funding to make CUE a reality."

"The McGuinty government is building a strong and reliable electricity system while transforming Ontario into a North American leader in clean energy," said the Honourable Brad Duguid, Ontario's Minister of Energy, who participated in the announcement. "Ryerson's Centre for Urban Energy will be a welcome addition to our growing clean energy economy."

"Ryerson's Centre for Urban Energy is being established at a time when Ontario is transforming its electricity system to accommodate clean and renewable sources of energy," said Laura Formusa, president and CEO, Hydro One Inc. "We believe this partnership will help us identify solutions to integrating new technologies and developing the future leaders of the energy sector."

"Innovation is key to Ontario's reliable and sustainable electricity system," said Colin Andersen, chief executive officer, Ontario Power Authority. "Innovation is how Ontario will remain a leader in conservation and clean energy, helping to provide Ontarians with cleaner air, high quality jobs and a vibrant economy. We know that visionary new energy technologies will play a significant role in our success, and the Centre for Urban Energy will help deliver them." 

"We're proud to partner with Ryerson on this unique initiative to forward the agenda for the next generation of electricity research and technologies in Toronto," said Anthony Haines, president and CEO, Toronto Hydro Corporation. "Toronto Hydro has been a leader in the electricity industry for 100 years and we continue to strive for excellence through our conservation and demand management programs, grid modernization efforts and innovative thinking."

The $7 million funding from the founding sponsors will be used in several ways. CUE will distribute up to $900,000 annually for approved research projects; discussions are currently underway with the founding sponsors to identify the first projects that CUE will undertake. In addition, each year CUE will grant $100,000 in bursaries, scholarships and awards to students, and $400,000 to distinguished fellows from industry and academia, who are engaged in CUE's work.

"The Centre for Urban Energy will be anchored by the Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Science but will be a university-wide Centre drawing on a variety of experts across many academic disciplines," said Alan Shepard, provost and vice president academic. "We will also be reaching out and collaborating with other academic institutions in Ontario, across Canada and around the world."

Ryerson engineering professor Bala Venkatesh has been appointed academic director of CUE, which will be located adjacent to the Ryerson campus. The CUE will have an advisory board of leaders in the energy, innovation and business sectors which will include representation from the three founding sponsors. 

CUE's areas of research focus will include:
* Alternative local energy/fuel applications and options;
* Conservation and demand management;
* Renewable energy integration;
* Carbon footprint reduction;
* Distributed generation and energy storage applications;
* Integrated planning methodologies and models;
* Plug-in hybrid vehicle and electric vehicles infrastructure requirements;
* Transmission supply enhancements;
* Transmission and distribution power engineering and utility applications.

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