Dan Balaban is president and CEO of Greengate Power Corp.
What is Greengate Power and what does it do?
Balaban: Greengate Power is a renewable energy company based in Calgary. We are a developer of utility-scale wind and solar energy projects, providing a low-cost and clean source of power for Albertans by taking advantage of Alberta’s world-class wind and solar resources.
Can you give me an overview of your projects and the scope of the business you’ve done since the company came into existence?
Balaban: Greengate has been leading Alberta’s move into renewable energy for more than a decade. To date, we have successfully developed 450 MW of wind energy in Alberta, representing one-third of the wind energy produced in the province, providing a clean source of power to more than 200,000 homes and representing an investment of approximately $1 billion.
Going forward, Greengate is developing over one GW of wind and solar energy projects in Alberta, as the province continues moving into low-cost and renewable sources of power. Greengate was awarded a PPA with the AESO in 2018 in partnership with Potentia Renewables and Paul First Nation for our 113 MW Stirling Wind Project.
We are also focused on developing our 400 MW Travers Solar project, which would be Canada’s and one of the world’s largest solar energy projects.
What’s your business background? How and why did you get into the renewable industry?
Balaban: I graduated from the University of Toronto with a degree in computer science. I started my career as a management consultant with EY and PwC working with companies to improve business performance through technology.
I then started a software company called Roughneck.ca, which eventually became a leading provider of software solutions for the oil and gas industry.
I have always been interested in environmental issues and upon a successful exit from software, I decided to get into the renewable energy business. It is a really interesting business and one that provides tremendous benefit for society which is a great combination for me.
What are some of the awards you have won over the years as an entrepreneur?
Balaban: I’m fortunate to have been recognized for my career accomplishments. I was named one of Alberta’s 50 Most Influential People in 2010 and 2013 by Alberta Venture magazine, a winner of Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Prairies in 2012, selected as one of Canada’s Clean50 for 2015 and named one of the Top 100 individuals in North American Power in 2018.
What do you think are the key characteristics and qualities of a successful entrepreneur?
Balaban: Vision, hard work and tenacity.
Starting a business always begins with a vision. In my case, that’s a vision for an energy system increasingly powered by renewables, which I believe provides tremendous benefits for the environment and society.
Even with the best laid out plans, success as an entrepreneur is always more difficult and takes longer than initially expected.
However, overcoming challenges and ultimately succeeding is very rewarding.
– Mario Toneguzzi for Calgary’s Business