NAIT student project to serve as pilot for new Student Energy Ventures program

Published on February 10, 2022

NAIT Alternative Energy Technology students will lead the pilot project for Student Energy’s new program, Student Energy Ventures – a direct-to-youth funding program that breaks down traditional barriers to clean energy entrepreneurship and clean energy project development.

Student Energy welcomed Prairies Economic Development Canada as a lead supporter of the recently launched initiative, providing a federal investment of CAD$500,000 to enable a series of youth-led clean energy projects across Western Canada.

The pilot project will see current NAIT students Jack Harding and Ethan Buchanan create a set of guide documents and project template for installing small-scale solar PV panels. The templates will include best practices and technical expertise that Student Energy Ventures will make accessible to youth from underrepresented communities who are interested in launching their own clean energy projects. 

WATCH: Launching Student Energy Venture video

Student Energy Ventures aims to remove barriers to clean energy entrepreneurship for young people by providing access to funding, mentorship and project development templates. By giving youth the necessary skills, knowledge, and support system for their initiatives, Student Energy Ventures allows young people to launch tangible community clean energy projects while creating opportunities for youth in underrepresented communities to pursue careers in the sector.

Through the Ventures program, priority will be given to support and deploy funding to targeted communities with both the highest potential for impact and who have lived through historical inequity in the global energy industry. Specifically, priority will be given to projects led by youth, women, and Indigenous youth or communities. As Ventures expands globally, Student Energy will also prioritize projects from the world’s Least Developed Countries (LDCs).




“The Government of Canada is working with partners and communities to ensure that our transition to a net-zero economy leverages the talent and expertise of all Canadians, including youth, women and Indigenous innovators. Our investment to launch Student Energy Ventures will help young Canadians bring their ideas to life, prepare for leading-edge jobs in Canada’s clean energy sector, and ultimately drive the growth of promising new technologies that benefit both the environment and the economy.” — The Honourable Daniel Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs, Minister responsible for Prairies Economic Development Canada and Minister responsible for the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency


“Here in Alberta, we have the smarts, the ingenuity, the workers, the universities, and the tech institutes to meet the challenge of getting to net zero. The launch of Student Energy Ventures is a great example of how we can tap into the passion and abilities of our diverse innovators to create tangible benefits for Albertans and Canadians. I’m proud of our government’s investment in this initiative, which will help unlock the potential of new ideas for a sustainable energy sector that supports both a healthy environment and a dynamic economy.” — The Honourable Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance


“We are excited to be the pilot location for Student Energy Ventures. We know we need to act quickly to deploy the solutions we already have, and that’s why we’ve decided to say yes first, and support an innovative model where we will buy power for a youth-led project our students are developing.” — Stewart Cook, Dean of Applied Sciences, Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT)


“In 2021, we launched our global UN Energy Compact, the Solutions Movement, and we set an ambitious goal of deploying 10,000 youth-led projects this decade. Student Energy Ventures is how we’re making that happen. Young people globally are deeply concerned about the climate crisis, and for far too long, the energy sector has had a high barrier for entry for young people – particularly women, Indigenous youth, and young people from low-income backgrounds. Through Ventures, we hope to open up the emerging opportunities in clean energy and community-based solutions to young people from all backgrounds, so that youth have access to a tangible pathway and the necessary resources to turn their motivation into action.” — Meredith Adler, Executive Director, Student Energy


“We’re thrilled to launch Student Energy Ventures today, and to be announcing Prairies Economic Development Canada as our lead supporter of this new program. Ventures will play a key role in equipping young people in Canada and across the world with the knowledge, project designs, and capital needed to execute the clean energy transition.

I’m beyond thrilled we’re announcing our first Ventures pilot project will take place in my hometown of Edmonton with NAIT. It’s exciting to see the first pilot project launch where our organization first began, and we look forward to being able to support global youth-led innovation.” — Sean Collins, Co-Founder and Senior Director of Ventures, Student Energy



Student Energy is the world’s largest youth-led organization empowering young people to accelerate the sustainable energy transition. Since 2009, Student Energy has worked with thousands of youth from over 120 countries, to build the knowledge, skills, and networks they need to take action on energy. Student Energy operates on a unique youth empowerment model, which means that initiatives are co-created with youth, for youth.

Student Energy has built coalitions with over 100 diverse partners, such as the UN, Indigenous Clean Energy, Sustainable Energy for All, HSBC Global, the Stockholm Environment Institute, DNV, WSP, and national governments like Canada, Denmark, and Sweden. Student Energy has stewarded CAD$10 million+ in funding to date, supported the development of over 280 youth energy projects, held 6 international Student Energy Summits, and attracted over 13 million people to its digital energy education platforms.


Prairies Economic Development Canada (PrairiesCan) is the federal department that supports economic growth in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Its programs and services help businesses, not-for-profits and communities grow stronger. Its mandate is to support economic growth and diversification in the Prairie provinces and advance the interests of the region in national economic policy, programs and projects.


About NAIT

The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) is a leading Canadian polytechnic, delivering education in science, technology and the environment; business; health and skilled trades. With over 34,000 credit and non-credit students and a 98 per cent employer satisfaction rate, NAIT grads help fuel the economic engine of the province. NAIT also contributes to Alberta's prosperity by helping businesses and communities become more competitive through industry-driven research and corporate training. Recognized as one of Alberta's top employers, NAIT provides outstanding returns on investment for its graduates, industry partners, the provincial government and the people of Alberta.

Media inquiries

Nicole Graham
NAIT Media Relations
C 780.916.8307 E

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