Renewables for Nature

Renewables for Nature: Research Collaboration between WWF and USask

The project is being led by Dr. Greg Poelzer, a professor with the School of Environment and Sustainability (SENS) at the University of Saskatchewan.

Project Objectives:

Within Canada, largely an energy secure country, Canadians are considered to have a basic understanding of how energy is used and its relative costs.  Unfortunately, like many other energy secure countries, they lack detailed knowledge about the origins of their energy sources and generally may not understand or perhaps misunderstand the impacts on the environment resulting from the procurement of various energy sources.  Another barrier impacting the progress of renewable energy projects revolves around the siting process or lack thereof. Many energy projects run into material challenges as they may have chosen a sensitive, unsuitable or protected geographic area. 

Choosing a suitable location for an energy project can be difficult, especially when the developers and inhabitants in an area have a low rate of energy literacy and an incomplete or fulsome understanding of the project site. Further complicating energy literacy and siting concerns are highly technical project construction, engineering and labor conditions, complex environmental assessment processes, contentious public policy and socio-political issues and increasingly comprehensive consultation and community engagement requirements. For an energy project to be successful a developer must consider a site that is both economically, environmentally, geographically and politically feasible. 

With global energy demands rising, and with the success of renewable energy projects in jeopardy globally, the following questions need to be addressed. 

  • Will early engagement of developers, communities and other organizations in meaningful consultation around site selection result in the successful completion of energy projects?
  • What role does improving energy literacy around issues of siting have on the acceptance of energy development projects within a community?

This study will closely and strategically partner with the following organizations; the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM), First Nations Power Authority (FNPA), SaskPower (SPC), and File Hills Qu’Appelle Developments (FHQ).

For more information on this important initiative, please contact Dr. Greg Poelzer.