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The Front Line of Energy: Thought Leader Interviews

A lot can change in just one year.

One year ago, the Renewable Cities program launched in Vancouver, British Columbia at a Global Learning Forum, which gathered over three hundred people from around the world to discuss the urban energy transition. At the event, we brought together a combination of thought leaders and real-world implementers from a variety of different backgrounds. Through a participatory process, delegates were able to contribute to and learn from a dialogue on urban energy solutions and came away feeling empowered to do their work.

Since then, the renewable energy world has undergone a series of tectonic political, economic, and technological developments that have left many policy-makers, business leaders, and members of civil society pondering the shift.

With this in mind, we caught up with some Global Learning Forum alumni to find out what’s changed for them, what they’ve been working on, and where they see the future of energy. The interview series is called The Front Line of Energy, and profiles individuals who are at the leading edge of the renewable energy transition.


Colleen Giroux-Schmidt, ‎Senior Director, Governmental and Regulatory Affairs, Innergex

Colleen Giroux-Schmidt of Innergex

Colleen Giroux-Schmidt is working to build the renewable energy projects that will help to decarbonize economies around the world. She is a Senior Director at Innergex, a leading Canadian renewable energy company. Read the interview.

Ashoka Finley, Project Leader, Energy Solidarity Cooperative


As a project leader at the Energy Solidarity Cooperative, Ashoka Finley is helping to lead the effort for community-owned solar on the rooftops of Oakland—to harness the power of distributed solar for the public good. Read the interview.

Zachary Shahan, Director and Editor, CleanTechnica

Zachary Shahan leads a renewable energy communications session at Global Learning Forum 2017

If you want to get excited about the future of renewables, Zachary Shahan is right the person to talk to. Zachary is the director and editor of, the #1 most-visited cleantech-focused site on the internet, and writes and speaks frequently on Tesla motors, solar power, and clean energy disruption. Read the interview.

Mark Brostrom, Director, City of Edmonton’s Office of the Environment and Energy


Mark Brostrom is a Director at the City of Edmonton and led the development of the Edmonton’s Energy Transition Strategy. With the Strategy in place, the city in the heart of Canada’s oil country will pursue energy conservation and the development of renewables. Read the interview.

Robert Ferry & Elizabeth Monoian, Co-Founders, Land Art Generator Initiative


Robert Ferry and Elizabeth Monoian are the Founding Directors of the Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI), which works to address the issue of public acceptance of localized renewable energy through art, public engagement, and biennial international design competition. Read the interview.

Anna Leidreiter, Senior Programme Manager, Climate, Energy and Cities, World Future Council


Anna Leidreiter is a Senior Programme Manager at the World Future Council and a key figure in the global campaign for 100% renewable energy. She carries out policy research, develops advocacy campaigns, and works on enabling policy frameworks for a global energy transition towards 100% renewable energy. Read the interview.

If you liked these interviews, join us at Global Learning Forum 2017 to be at the leading edge of energy in cities or follow us on social media (NewsletterTwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn).