The man behind Greengate
is Dan Balaban
grew up in the energy capital of Canada - Calgary - and he's
always been interested in alternative energy.
"It made sense to me," Balaban
says of alternative energy.
is no stranger to success.
He first foray into entrepreneurship was Roughneck.ca Inc., a leading provider of software solutions (such as the ability to track, manage and report greenhouse gas and other air emissions) to the Canadian oil and gas industry.
sold that company for more than $5 million in 2005 and soon after, set his
sights on wind energy.
Balaban's playing with bigger numbers these days - to build out the wind projects he's
developing requires a $4-billion investment.
In a province where big money is generally associated with big oil, Balaban
aims to break the mold with Greengate
"Ultimately, I want to demonstrate that it's possible to make money in the renewable energy sector," Balaban
"While it's obvious there are significant environmental returns, I want to show the financial returns can be significant too."
believes the renewable energy sector can help drive both the provincial and national economies forward, and in doing so, he
can inspire others to join the burgeoning industry.
ventured into the wind energy business in 2007 amidst a strong economy, but the coming recession quickly made his
capital-intensive undertaking considerably more challenging.
team remained confident.
"We didn't share the same pessimism others had," he
"We became creative in terms of identifying sources of capital, we kept our optimism and we continued to execute our plan."
While others stopped moving forward, Greengate
To understand where Balaban
drive, you have to understand his
Balaban points to his
father and grandfather as his
father Jack start up several successful companies.
"I was a curious child and he
wisdom with me," Balaban
also maintains a strong network.
He's a member of the Entrepreneurs' Organization, industry-related organizations such as the Canadian Wind Energy Association and sustainable energy think tanks such as the Pembina Institute.
recognizes the support he's
received from such networks, as well as from his
family, friends, employees and investors.
wife and his
team at Greengate several times during our chat.
Supporting a business opportunity that presents both significant financial and environmental rewards seems to be a no-brainer.
That kind of ideal convergence might just get Balaban to his ultimate goal: to be Canada's largest pure play producer of renewable wind energy.
That, and his
"It's very important to do something you're passionate about - you can't just be passionate about making money," he