Governing Energy System Change in the Canadian Arctic: Alternative Sources of Innovation in Communities?

Regions: Sahtu Settlement Area, North Slave Region

Tags: renewable energy, social sciences, socio-economics

Principal Investigator: Mallett, Alexandra (2)
Licence Number: 16607
Organization: Carleton University
Licensed Year(s): 2019
Issued: Jul 30, 2019
Project Team: Stephanie Irlbacher-Fox; Jessica Leis

Objective(s): To determine the extent to which existing policy supports for energy system change are the most appropriate ones to help foster potential change at the community level in the subarctic regions.

Project Description: This licence has been issued for the scientific research application No.4445.

The goals of this project are: 1) to determine the extent to which changes are occurring with respect to electricity generation and use at the community level in three communities in NWT; 2) to determine how, what and who is involved in the governance of energy within communities and how this is evolving; and 3) to determine whether or not there are links between energy system change and these evolving governance structures. This research will help determine the extent to which existing policy supports for energy system change, such as conventional support for innovation (e.g. tax credits and financial assistance to help spur demand) are the most appropriate ones to help foster energy system change in the electricity sector at the community level in the Canadian Arctic and subarctic regions.

This research will conduct in depth analyses of three case studies, which reflect the various attributes of interest with respect to energy system change and energy governance. The Principal Investigator (PI) chose to focus on communities in Northwest Territories (NWT) that have various kinds of governance structures such as: Yellowknife (municipality) that has an existing structure, Colville Lake that has a settled land claim agreement and is negotiating a self-government agreement (started in fall 2014), and Tulit’a that is also beginning self government agreement negotiations (2017 started). The bulk of research data collection will consist of semi structured interviews, focus group sessions, oral story telling as well as analysis of various documents like the City of Yellowknife council minutes.

The PI will create a short (3 page) policy briefing and community presentation. The PI may also host a webinar at Carleton so that various people from NWT could learn from it. Any suggestions on research dissemination options for northerners by ARI are welcome.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from August 4, 2019 to October 31, 2019.