CASES Webinar Series

We are pleased to announce a webinar series drawing on lessons from our international and multi-sectoral partnership of public and private sector organizations from across Canada, Alaska, Norway and Sweden.

Each webinar will be recorded and made available below.

November 17th, 2021 - Introduction to Smart Grids

Presented by: Dr. Tony Chung, University of Saskatchewan

In the last two decades, large-scale blackouts have occurred in many countries. These incidents have caused enormous national economic losses and affected millions of customers. Many countries have pushed forward the modernization of power systems with advanced technologies to make power grids smarter, which is increasingly being seen as a way to prevent power supply failures by ensuring efficient transmission and improving energy utilization. This smart grid—the electricity system of the future—will incorporate communications, sensors, automation, and computers to improve the flexibility, reliability, and efficiency of the power system and facilitate the massive usage of renewable energy resources.

This seminar will familiarize participants with the fundamentals of smart grids and microgrids, which are miniaturized smart grids. The traditional power systems will first be briefly reviewed, then their problems highlighted. This will be followed by an introduction to smart grids and microgrids. In particular, their components, functions, and advantages will be explained. Finally, the seminar will discuss the challenges and opportunities of smart grids and microgrids.

Prof. Tony C.Y. Chung is a Professor, the NSERC/SaskPower Senior Industrial Research Chair in Smart Grid Technologies, and the SaskPower Chair in Power Systems Engineering in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada. He is a prominent leader for advancing academic activities and applied research in power systems engineering development in the province of Saskatchewan. He is now leading a research team, supported by SaskPower and NSERC of Canada, to conduct cutting-edge and long-term smart grid research for SaskPower and address critical technical issues associated with smart grid technologies and their applications to real power systems.

Prof. Chung is a registered professional engineer in the Province of Saskatchewan. He is a Fellow of IEEE, EIC, IET and HKIE. He is an IEEE PES Distinguished Lecturer and a Senior Editor of “IEEE Transactions on Power Systems”. He is also the recipient of the 2021 IEEE Canada P.D. Ziogas Electric Power Award and the 2020-2021 Saskatoon Engineering Society (SES) Educator of the Year Award.

The presentation was live through Zoom.
Time: Nov 17, 2021 12:00 PM Saskatchewan

If you are unable to join, a recording will be made available below. 

October 13th, 2021 - Energy transitions in remote Arctic communities: Drivers and community priorities

Presented by CASES Post Doctoral Fellows: 
Dr. Chad Walker and Dr. Vikas Menghwani

The CASES initiative has been examining crucial research questions surrounding renewable energy development in remote Artic communities with a particular focus on themes of energy security, autonomy, and long-term sustainability. For example, what specific factors explain RE development across communities? Are those factors more community-related or market/technology related? Are policy frameworks aligned with community concerns? What RE technologies are best suited not only for energy security but also for empowering communities? After a brief introduction, Dr. Chad Walker and Dr. Vikas Menghwani discuss few of these questions – via an overview of two research papers under review and in-progress – in this CASES webinar.


Dr. Chad Walker

In his first research output with CASES, Chad and colleagues examined the pathways leading to renewable energy development across 24 remote communities in Alaska. Using Qualitative Comparative Analysis, they find that from a set of 37 potential contributions, 3 (community capacity, electricity subsidies, and whether or not a utility pools resources) were particularly powerful. In short, they find electricity subsidies seem to stymie community-level transitions while unique combinations of all three are associated with the presence (or absence) of renewable energy development. 


Dr. Vikas Menghwani

Renewable energy development in Northern Canada is happening in the context of national level push to move away from Diesel reliance in remote communities. Different initiatives have emerged from the federal level in this area. For example, the Pan-Canadian Summit on Reducing Diesel in Remote Communities and the Arctic Energy Fund. It is not clear however, if such top-down approaches align well with the energy perspectives of targeted communities. While the policy implementation is motivated primarily by the sustainability imperative of reduced emissions, the drivers at play at the community level could be very different. This case study focuses on Canada’s Northwest Territories (NWT) and explores the tensions/synergies between community priorities and the federal energy transition policies.


The presentation was live through Zoom:
October 13th, 2021 12 -1pm CST/MDT

A recording is available below. 

April 28th, 2021: Supporting Indigenous clean energy shifts

Presented by: 
Nicolas Mansuy and Jennifer Buss, NRCAN

Thank you for joining us on April 28th for our fourth webinar on supporting Indigenous clean energy shifts with asset-based community development.


Remote and Indigenous communities in Canada have a unique opportunity to mobilize the vast amount of wood-based biomass adjacent to them to meet their energy needs, while supporting a local economy, and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Asset-based community development allows communities to build on their unique assets and mobilize local resources to realize and develop their strengths. This study realized in collaboration with five remote and Indigenous communities in central and northern Canada first focuses on identifying risks and challenges to the wood-based bioenergy supply chain. Main risks identified include high initial investments of bioenergy projects, the logistical and operational challenges of developing sustainable wood supply chains in remote locations, limited opportunities for community leadership of bioenergy projects, and climate change. To de-risk the wood-based bioenergy supply chain, we suggest that stable and sustainable supply chains be implemented by restoring community-based resources management supported by local knowledge and workforce. Supporting co-learning between partners and among communities can improve knowledge and innovations sharing and using local feedstock versus imported feedstock can also help to make a system more resilient and reduce the risk in the bioenergy supply and reinforce communities’ self-reliance. Next, we assessed the GHG mitigation potential of replacing imported diesel fuel with wood-based bioenergy in a remote and Indigenous community, Fort McPherson, NWT. Using a life cycle assessment based model, we compared the timing of GHG benefits when utilizing locally harvested wood chips and imported wood pellets. We found that replacing diesel fuel with saw mill residue pellets resulted in slightly faster GHG benefits than local willow chips.

The presentation was live through WebEx:
April 28th, 2021 12 -1pm MDT

A recording has been made available below. 

March 23, 2021: Watay Project

Presented by: 
Margaret Kenequanash, CEO, Wataynikaneyap Power and Tim Lavoie, Vice President, Fortis Ontario Inc.
Introduced by: Steve Sousa, CCO, Valard 

Thank you for joining us on March 23rd to hear about the Watay Project. Once completed, the Watay Project will be the largest electric infrastructure project ever implemented to connect remote communities in Ontario, including 17 First Nations communities, with electricity generation and distribution systems that are not currently connected to the provincial transmission grid. 

The presentation was live through WebEx:

March 23, 2021 12 -1pm CST

A recording has been made available below. 

February 4, 2021: Smart Senja Project

Presented by: UiT and Arva

Smart Senja is a partnership between the utility company, local industry, tech companies and the UiT. The goal is to identify and test different smart technical solutions as well as creating a hybrid energy system (hydropower, solar and potentially wind power) that allow better use of the existing grid in cooperation with the local community. An important objective is to co-design these solutions to enhance to the islanders’ social and economic security for viable coastal communities and industries.

The presentation was live through WebEx:


A recording has been made available below. 

December 14, 2020: MicroFEWs Project

PRESENTED BY: Dr. Whitney and Dr. Schmidt

MicroFEWs is a research project funded by the National Science Foundation to explore how existing and potential renewable energy projects affect food, energy, and water (FEW) security in rural Alaska. The project combines community visits and surveys with engineering studies to probe these linkages and feedbacks, and it also explores optimization of modular FEW infrastructure to enhance community security.

Dr. Whitney and Dr. Schmidt did a great job describing the project in a way that everyone can understand, no matter what your background. They also shared some of the early learnings from this work.

The presentation was live through WebEx:
December 14th 12 -1pm CST

November 16, 2020: Northlands ERAAES Pilot Project


Northlands Dënesųłiné First Nation is one of four off grid diesel dependent communities in Manitoba, and one of more than 250 diesel dependent communities in Canada. It is sustained by approximately 2 million litres of diesel fuel which is trucked to Lac Brochet over the temporary winter road, used for heating and electricity.

The ERAAES (Environmental Remediation and Alternative Energy Systems) project launched in February 2017 and was completed in 2020. The project was designed as the first step in making the Northlands Dënesųłiné First Nation community less reliant and eventually eliminating its dependence on diesel for essential services, meanwhile creating a more environmentally sustainable community.

Dan Benoit is a Senior Environmental Specialist with Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) and is a member of the Métis Nation. Like many Métis, Dan has been raised in the traditions and culture of his People including their special relationship and stewardship with the land and water. He has worked for both industry and all three levels of government in the natural resources and environment field. For the last 13 years, he has worked as an environmental scientist with the government. Dan lives with his wife Beth, their son Fred and daughter Katie, between Winnipeg and the family farm in south-eastern Manitoba.

The presentation was live through WebEx:
November 16th 12 -2pm CST