April 8, 2020

Energy Futures Roadshows Helping to Deepen Connections With Communities Across Alberta

By Energy Futures Lab

Energy Futures Roadshows continue to deliver in Alberta communities with the support of the Alberta Real Estate Foundation. Since 2018 the Energy Futures Lab has been supporting the Roadshows to visit communities across Alberta with a tailored workshop meant to explore and identify actions for a successful energy transition.

The purpose of the Energy Futures Roadshow is to support Albertan communities to explore their unique opportunities and challenges arising from energy transition. This is achieved by delivering a multi-day workshop in the Roadshow community, staying connected to other participating communities through a peer-to-peer network (managed by the EFL), and by participation at Community Accelerators. The communities that have participated to date include: Crowsnest Pass, Devon, Hinton, Grande Prairie and Drayton Valley. Three more Roadshows are currently being planned for 2020.

As energy transition presents unique challenges specific to each community, the Roadshow design team works closely with champions from each of the communities to ensure that the group focuses on solutions that are relevant to the community. To arrive at the best initiatives and actions for the community to undertake in the energy transition, a diverse mix of people are invited to participate in each Roadshow. The diverse participant mix typically includes City, Town and Municipal District Council members and administrative staff, members of industry, community groups and organizations, staff from colleges and universities, youth and seniors and many other community members. To date there have been over 90 organizations represented at the Roadshows.

Following the in-person Roadshows, each community participates in a peer-to-peer learning network who connect online monthly. The network calls have allowed participants to exchange knowledge and lessons learned from their experiences with energy transition in their communities, as well as provide one another with recommendations to advance specific initiatives.

The Communities Accelerators bring together EFL Fellows, industry members from a wide swath of Alberta (including the AREF) and community members and municipal leaders to work on accelerating initiatives that deeply impact their communities. The most recent Accelerator in March of 2020 focused on the following three initiatives:

  • Advancing the Alberta-wide Solar Lab Project: Supporting smaller and rural communities in Alberta to bridge the gap between desiring to implement community-owned renewable energy projects and actually doing so.
  • Creating and Leveraging a Regional Electric Vehicle Mobility Vision: Working together to understand regional eMobility opportunities for innovation, economic development and tourism in Northwest Alberta by learning from successful implementations in Alberta and BC (e.g. Peaks to Prairies).
  • Accelerating Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing in Alberta through the Clean Energy Improvement Program (CEIP): Exploring PACE as a financing tool, sharing best practices in North America (including Alberta’s version, CEIP) and working with other committed stakeholders to meaningfully accelerate this program in other Alberta communities.

The Roadshows supported by AREF are helping to create more resilient communities through the energy transition, by meeting them where they are at and fostering a unique approach to communities ready to create an energy system that is fit for the future. As one Roadshow participant said: “I am excited for new opportunities for partnerships, collaboration and to move to actionable items that can begin the energy transition in my community.”

The Energy Futures Lab would like to thank AREF for making this opportunity possible. It is very rewarding to our organization to see positive results achieving the purpose of the work we do together, and we cannot do this work without the support of organizations like the AREF!

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