Co-operative energy in Canada: Revolutionizing the energy transition
This talk, featuring Julie MacArthur, is part of the Creating a League of Our Own: A Renewable Energy Cooperatives in Canada Discussion Series.
Canadian energy systems are undergoing significant, albeit uneven and contested, restructuring away from fossil fuel reliance and toward energy efficiency and renewables. Policy changes to spur transition have largely focused on expanding low-carbon sources of electricity and far less on the role of ownership and participation. This gap is concerning because community participation is crucial to effective energy system transformation by enhancing trust, legitimacy, and community development. Canadian renewable energy co-operatives are already active participants in energy production, distribution, retail and educational services and form part of the broader "community energy" sector. This presentation will discuss the distinctiveness, scope, and potential role of these renewable energy cooperatives in building the social and physical infrastructures needed for radical change. It will draw insights from international examples and explore some of the complexities associated with their impact and development relevant to the Canadian context.
About our speaker: Dr. Julie MacArthur is an Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair in Reimagining Capitalism at Royal Roads University. She is the author of Empowering Electricity: Co-operatives, Sustainability and Power Sector Reform in Canada (UBC 2016), co-editor of Environmental Politics and Policy in Aotearoa New Zealand (with Maria Bargh, 2022) and author of numerous articles and book chapters on energy democracy, inclusive low carbon transitions, participatory environmental governance, and comparative energy policy. She is a recent past-Chair of the international WISER (Women and Inclusivity in Sustainable Energy Research) Network.