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Ivey Energy Policy and Management Centre

Canada's Energy Past, Present and Future: Ivey Student Story Competition

  • Nov 3, 2020
Canada's Energy Past, Present and Future: Ivey Student Story Competition

Open to all Ivey HBA, MBA, MSc, EMBA and PhD students


The Ivey Energy Policy and Management Centre at Ivey Business School, in partnership with Peter Tertzakian and his personal online museum at, are pleased to announce the second Energyphile story competition.

Ivey students are invited to submit a short story on the topic below by February 1, 2021. The winners will receive a total PRIZE of $2,500 and have their stories considered for publication as part of Peter Tertzakian’s Energyphile collection of stories about energy in Canada. Submissions will be judged by a panel of Ivey faculty and Peter Tertzakian.


The Competition

Using the historical artifact below, write a story of up to 1,500 words total that provokes the reader to think about our energy future using lessons from our energy past.



The Tallow Chandlers represented candle makers in 17th century England. In 1692 they put forth a blunt petition to the councillors of the City of London: Ban the Convex Lens.

The premise for banning this new technology was fairly simple. A curved lens attached to streetlamps and other lanterns was going to be too effective in making the distribution of lighting more efficient. As a consequence of this transition, candle makers argued that less tallow (animal fat used in making candles) would be needed. As well, wick makers and other candle suppliers would see the need for their products and services diminish too. Fearing for their jobs and livelihoods, members of the Tallow Chandlers argued that the “the labour and industry of many thousands may be lost and their families impoverish’d.” The thinking therefore was that the technology should be banned.

The brochure printed by the Tallow Chandlers to sway public opinion is the artifact for your story.

Tallow Chandlers Brochure Artifact

A higher resolution version that is readable may be found at:!Aq0RymqqdJzB4TqQ2KgJeOTT-Ba7?e=b2d2I5

As well, two Energyphile vignettes may be found at: and


Story Considerations

Write from the position of someone living in London in 1692. The person you choose could be a member of the Tallow Chandlers; one of the London Aldermen; a convex lens maker; a fearful candle maker; a lamplighter; the person tasked with distributing brochures; or anyone else you can imagine with a stake in the situation.  Use your imagination to describe what you as that person feels in the face of this disruptive new technology.

Juxtapose the situation to today’s energy transition. What do you see as the parallels to what’s going on? For guidance, think of the term ‘just transition’, with the word “just” referring to the fair treatment of people who are potentially put out of work by new technologies in energy.

Finally, draw a business lesson that can be used by corporate leaders—whether they are established companies being asked to pursue ‘net-zero’ strategies using new energy technologies, or whether they are companies metaphorically developing the convex lenses of today. You may also take the position of today’s policy makers, who have similar challenges to the Aldermen of London in 1692. Give extra thought to the social consequences of the energy transition we are faced with over the next few decades.



  • Use a creative non-fiction style of writing. Underscore the word creative; this is not meant to be a dull essay. Any length is fine to a strict limit of 1,500 words. For examples of writing style, consider the stories in the Energyphile collection at
  • Think of your story as a business case study. Assume the reader is a stakeholder or business leader in the energy business. By the end of the story, the reader should have learned a clear business lesson about leading change in the current energy transition.
  • Write your story to endure.  In other words, decades from now a reader should be able to read your story and appreciate the same lesson at the end.
  • Don’t forget to think about the balance between social, environmental, technological, political and economic factors.
  • As you write, think about how our energy systems have evolved regionally over the past 300+ years, since the time of this brochure.
  • Feel free to research quantitative and qualitative information that may be relevant to your story.

Other Important Details

  1. Stories must be submitted to Professor Adam Fremeth, EJ Kernaghan Chair in Energy Policy: by February 1, 2021.
  2. The competition is open to all Ivey HBA, MBA, EMBA, MSc and PhD students. Students may submit jointly authored stories, and are welcome to co-author across programs and faculties at Western University; however, at least one student must currently be at Ivey.
  3. First place prize winner will receive $1,500, second place $500 and third place $500.
  4. The Ivey Energy Policy and Management Centre and Energyphile will have the right to publish the prize-winning submission(s).