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Centre for Building Sustainable Value · Rebecca Zuker, HBA '23 Candidate

Shivani Chotalia: An HBA grad paving the way for sustainable energy solutions

May 25, 2023

Shivani Chotalia (1)

Shivani Chotalia, HBA 2015, was determined to work for a company whose mission and vision resonated with her values surrounding sustainability and community-based impact. This led her to NRStor, where she serves as Director of Development & Partnerships.  

Shivani grew up in Alberta, a province heavily focused on the oil and gas industry. However, she was determined to witness the transition towards renewable energy.  

Combining her personal and professional passions, she studied Green Process Engineering and Business. To supplement her courses, Shivani was involved in many different clubs including Ivey’s Energy and Resource Club, where she brought a new sustainable development lens to the table. Shivani's participation in Engineers Without Borders, an organization that focuses on sustainable international development, proved to be a pivotal experience that unified her diverse interests. At Ivey, not only did she find a community of similar individuals interested in using business for good, but she also found others interested in the same specific field as her - clean tech.  

Forging your own path  

Upon graduation, Shivani found herself seeking a non-traditional career without a clear pathway to find these roles. Yet instead of worrying, she took matters into her own hands. She began volunteering at conferences, which enabled her to build a personalized professional network. Shivani advises students in a similar position to be fearless about forging their own paths, even if it deviates from traditional routes. Driven by the desire to work for a company whose mission and vision resonated with her values, Shivani persisted until she found the perfect fit. 

In that pursuit, she found NRStor, an energy storage project developer, owner, and operator. The company aims to provide cost-effective, reliable energy storage projects to decarbonize our energy systems. Since joining the company in 2015, Shivani has been instrumental in growing the cleantech startup and is now its Director of Development and Partnerships.  

Shivani is involved with all aspects of the company - the ideation process, project development activities, how the projects are financed, and establishing strong partnerships, in particular with Indigenous communities. Due to the smaller size of the team, Shivani wears multiple hats at NRStor. This is one of the aspects of her job that she most enjoys as she gets to utilize her diverse skill set.  

Driving Sustainable Solutions  

Shivani was also attracted to NRStor as the organization is committed to supporting its greater community, using energy storage infrastructure as a tool for economic development. One of the projects NRStor is working on is developing the largest battery energy storage facility in Canada – the Oneida Energy Storage Project. The company has partnered with Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corporation to deliver an innovative greenhouse gas-reducing project through a meaningful 50/50 Indigenous partnership. As the first major large-scale energy storage project in Canada, the project has catalyzed more storage deployment in the province and across the country. Another project she is working on intends to make a rural community in Nunavut less dependent on diesel using a clean energy microgrid.  

Shivani prides herself on working for a company that prioritizes both sustainability and social impact. Her work feeds into her goals of transforming the energy landscape across the country, building smart partnerships, and engaging in projects that directly accelerate the transition off of coal and fossil fuel uses. She believes in creating innovative, inclusive, and sustainable solutions that help our communities in the long term. This goal is pervasive throughout all of Shivani’s engagements.  

She is a Board Member of Environmental Defence Canada, a leading non-profit defending clean water, a safe climate, and healthy communities. Back in 2016, Shivani co-founded BOLD Realities – a panel series using dialogue to advance reconciliation between Indigenous communities and corporate Canada, and to explore bold and innovative solutions on how we can work together in the future. She also volunteers with non-profit Outside Looking In as a mentor to Indigenous youth, and is a vocal advocate for women in STEM. 

Shivani sees climate change as the largest global challenge our collective community faces. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s assessment, we must transition to a net zero emissions energy system by 2050. Shivani sees her current work with energy storage as just a start, and intends to continue focusing her career on achieving our ambitious global 2050 target.  

“As we build the infrastructure needed for a clean future, we must transform not only what is built but how it is built. New projects can be an avenue to bring economic benefits to those who have historically been left behind by our economic systems, rather than further favouring those who have always benefited.” 


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