The MaRS Discovery District has named its managing director for its new “Advanced Energy Centre” in longtime entrepreneur Ron Dizy.
The Advanced Energy Centre is a public-private partnership focused on “driving the adoption of innovative energy technologies” in Ontario and Canada.
Dizy formerly spent seven years leading ENBALA, where he raised over $20 million in venture capital and established it as a leading, real-time demand management company in North America. Before that he spent seven years as a Partner at Celtic House Venture Partners, opening its Toronto office, helped raise two venture capital funds and was responsible for all aspects of sourcing, selecting, negotiating and managing investments.
“I’m convinced that Canadian energy innovation is among the best in the world and that we have many of the winning conditions in place,” said Dizy. “However, as I have been involved as an entrepreneur in delivering innovation to the energy sector, I have observed the structural challenges that tend to slow the rate of adoption and scaling. I think the Advanced Energy Centre has the right structure and partners to break down these barriers and create tremendous economic and environmental value.”
The creation of the Centre was announced by Premier Kathleen Wynne at the Canadian Energy Innovation Summit at MaRS in February. In addition to Ontario’s Ministries of Energy (MOE) and Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure (MEDEI), MaRS, Capgemini and Siemens are founding partners of the Centre.
The AEC said it will “catalyze the creation of ‘whole solutions’ that drive faster, lower-risk adoption of Canadian energy innovation.” It will work closely with utilities to identify high-priority, cost-effective opportunities for improved solutions, ensure that the innovation community is addressing the needs of the system, and will support the adoption of standards-based programs like Green Button to drive both domestic and export market opportunities.
It will work closely with the MaRS Cleantech Venture Services and ArcTern Ventures, which is the new name for the MaRS Cleantech Fund, a $30 million privately-backed fund that invests in the MaRS community.
MaRS is the public and privately-funded charity located at the corners of University and College avenues in downtown Toronto. It operates several clusters representing various facets of innovation- ICT, cleantech, etc- which “cultivates high-impact ventures and equips innovators to drive economic and societal prosperity.”
It recently came under intense scrutiny when it was revealed that Wynne had kept from public knowledge a nearly half a billion-dollar bailout for the cash-strapped charity. It was revealed at the time that MaRS was about to default on a 2011 loan for over $200 million, from the government of Ontario. Over a two-week period, several other previously veiled public costs came to public knowledge.