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.

December 13, 2023: Josie Ward

CRE Projects and Sustainable Development in Northern Communities 

Rural Northern communities often struggle to build and maintain sustainable economies. The current models of economic development often do not provide paths to long-term sustainable communities. Concurrently, the concept of human development and wellbeing in the Arctic is being reimagined beyond traditional economic indicators, which drives the need for new projects and industries that can support local economies and contribute to overall community wellbeing. Community renewable energy (CRE) projects have been proposed as a driver of sustainable development in the Arctic and globally. Research on CRE projects has highlighted many hypothesized socio-economic benefits. However, there is a limited understanding of the mechanisms that generate these socioeconomic benefits. This thesis seeks to identify the mechanisms that make CRE projects drivers of sustainable development in rural Northern communities by advancing a CRE model, called the community renewable energy framework, informed by a nation building approach and the concept of creative class. The nation building approach highlights the importance of self-governance, competent governing institutions, cultural match, and strategic orientation are instrumental. These factors provide the foundation for deriving socioeconomic benefits from CRE but it is not sufficient to catalyze a new future in Northern communities. The creative class concept, with critical adaptations, can be applied to CRE projects to extend their impact beyond the direct benefits and catalyze sustainable development through the creation of a local creative class. Finally, this conceptual framework is applied to a community in Northern Norway. This thesis contributes to the body of research highlighting the potential of CRE projects to catalyze sustainable development in Northern communities.


Josie Ward is a graduate student in the School of Environment and Sustainability. Her current work focuses on the potential of community renewable energy projects to build sustainable and enduring communities. Prior to attending Usask she earned a Master of West Nordic Studies, Governance and Sustainable Management from the University of the Faroe Islands, awarded in 2020. Her undergraduate studies were completed at the University of Missouri, from which she was awarded a Bachelor of Economics in 2018. While studying in the Faroe Islands, Josie developed an interest in Arctic studies and sustainable development of the Arctic region. This interest inspired her to complete a semester-long exchange at the University of Greenland and an internship at the UArctic Thematic Networks and Research Liaison office at the University of Oulu in Finland.

Thank you for joining us. If you weren't able to attend, a recording has been made available below. 

November 15, 2023: Silas Asante & Didar Islam

Geospatial Tools and Community Input

Many rural and remote communities across Canada's North experience energy insecurity owing to high energy prices, energy disruptions, or inadequate energy supplies. Local, community renewable energy (CRE) has been identified as a potential solution to energy security challenges in the North. Peter Ballantyne Cree Nations (PBCN) has expressed considerable interest in exploring community renewable energy options for member communities to reduce power costs and to develop own-source revenue streams from renewable energy projects, with the aim of increasing energy self-reliance, providing new opportunities for the local economy, and combating climate change. 

In this webinar, Silas will discuss the use of geospatial tools and community input to identify biomass resource opportunities and potential within the commercial forest zone, managed by the PBCN local timber supply company, for community bioenergy development at Pelican Narrows. While Didar will discuss the energy potential based on the biomass resources locally available near Pelican Narrows. 


Silas Obeng Asante is a MSc student in the Department of Geography and Planning, University of Saskatchewan and joined the CASES team in September 2022. Silas has five years of working experience with International and national institutions such as UNFPA/UNICEF, and BIRD - KNUST and Ghana Cocoa Board on community participation projects, community development and management planning, spatial analysis, and conducting research baseline surveys in remote, rural, and Indigenous communities. Currently, Silas' research focuses on spatial assessment of community renewable energy resources opportunities, potential and community values in northern Saskatchewan. 

Didar Islam is a graduate student in the Department of Geography and Planning at the University of Saskatchewan and also joined the CASES team in September 2022. Prior to joining CASES, Didar earned his Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Sciences and a MSc in Environmental Engineering and also worked in various organizations and industries, including the Storage Power Company in Bangladesh, specializing in automobile and solar energy storage. He has experience and a strong grasp on ISO 14001 (Environmental Management System), ISO 45001 (Occupational Health and Safety Management System), and the HIGG Index (Sustainable Apparel Coalition) standards and is a certified internal auditor of the ISO 14001 (EMS) standard. Currently, his research focuses on the technical assessment of community bioenergy potential in northern and remote Indigenous communities in Saskatchewan. 

Join us on November 15th, 2023 at 12noon CST to hear more about this topic!

Join Zoom Meeting:

Meeting ID: 950 3712 1277
Passcode: 66604022
Telephone Passcode: 66604022

October 18, 2023: Trish Fitzpatrick

Energy strategies… Building codes…. Integrated Resource Management Plans…. Critical Minerals Policies??

The electrification of energy systems across Canada necessitate significant changes to how we approach energy. Massive investments are required to develop low carbon, sustainable supplies; modernize the grid; support reconciliation and Indigenous sovereignty; and, ensures no one is left behind. Importantly, the nature of the changes varies across the country, given the regional nature of energy systems.

This presentation contemplates the multi-faceted, but siloed, highly-centralized approach underway in Manitoba. The existing systems is, arguably, one of the least carbon-intensive in Canada.  However, projected demand-side trajectories require significant investments. The suite of policies introduced in the first eight months of 2023 are siloed, deficient in public input, and lack the innovation required to meet the social and political goals identified above. Now that the provincial election is over, we have an opportunity to reconsider our approach. 


Patricia Fitzpatrick (she/her) is a Professor in the Department of Geography, and an Instructor in the Master’s of Development Practice – Indigenous Focus - at the University of Winnipeg. She is a settler on Treaty 1, the territory of the Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota and Dene Peoples, and on the Homeland of the Red River Métis. Dr. Fitzpatrick’s research and teaching focuses on environmental governance surrounding energy and mineral development in Canada.

This webinar was held over Zoom. A recording and copy of the presentation is provided below.

Kirby Calvert: June 22, 2023

Kirby received his PhD in Geography from Queen's University in 2013 and established a research program focused on the intersection of community development and sustainability planning at the Pennsylvania State University (2013-2015) and then at the University of  Guelph (2015-2021). During this time he co-founded and co-directed the Community Energy Knowledge-Action Partnership ( - a national research partnership of academics and practitioners who connect academic research to policy development and strategic planning in municipalities across Canada. In 2020 he co-founded Co-Mapping Solutions, a small consultancy that brings his innovative methods for local sustainability and renewable energy planning to communities across Canada. 

In this talk, Kirby will discuss a unique approach to mapping opportunities for local renewable energy development, combining site suitability and spatial analysis with participatory mapping. Co-Mapping’s most recent in Frog Lake First Nation will be used as a case study to highlight the opportunities and challenges to applying this approach, with emphasis on Indigenous communities and the role of this work in the context of solar energy development processes more generally. 

Thank you for joining us on June 22nd, 2023 to hear more about Kirby's research! If you were unable to attend, a zoom recording is available below.

March 23, 2023: Jordan Peterson, Affinity North

Guest Lecture: Systems Thinking & Wicked Problems

Please join us in person at the University of Saskatchewan for a guest lecture exploring systems thinking and wicked problems from an Indigenous perspective. Through interactive discussions and activities, we'll examine how Indigenous ways of knowing and traditional ecological knowledge can inform our understanding of complex systems and their interconnections.

Jordan Peterson is the former elected Deputy Grand Chief for Gwich'in Tribal Council and is currently principal and chief disruptor at Affinity North, an Indigenous-owned consultancy focusing on building stronger and more successful communities.

March 23, 2023 4:00-5:30pm
263 Arts, University of Saskatchewan

This presentation was live in-person as well as on Zoom. If you were not able to attend, a video recording has been made available below.

December 16, 2022: Bobbie Balicki (USask)

Bobbie Balicki, CASES Masters student, recently defended her thesis on a Cost Benefit Framework for Cold Climate Microgrids. She will share an overview of the methodology and results of her research, highlighting the non-market impacts.

Thank you for joining us on December 16th to hear more about Bobbie's research! If you were unable to attend, a zoom recording is available below.


November 23, 2022: ACEP

Thank you for joining us on November 23rd to hear about interviewing skills and techniques.

Interviewing is an art which requires patience, understanding, and conversational skills. This webinar will walk through some key points of successfully conducting a video interview and feature some pitfalls to avoid. These skills, you will find, apply well beyond the interview.


Amanda Byrd is the Chief Storyteller at ACEP. In her current role, she shares ACEP’s research news through the weekly newsletter ACEP This Week, films and produces short videos that tell Alaska community energy and food stories.

The presentation was live on Zoom. A recording has been made available below. Feel free to share with your network. 

May 25th, 2022: SaskPower

Thank you for joining us on May 25th to hear more about SaskPower operations and opportunities and challenges they face. 

Doug Opseth is the Director of Generation Asset Management and Planning at SaskPower. In this role, Doug leads the team with the challenging task of ensuring the growing demand for power in Saskatchewan can be met while at the same time dealing with ageing generation facilities and increasing pressures on greenhouse gas emissions. Much of Doug’s work the past several years has been focused on the development of SaskPower’s long-term plans towards a net zero future and SaskPower’s SMR development work.  Previously Doug had been responsible for SaskPower’s work with Independent Power Producers and led the negotiations of Power Purchase Agreements with private companies and neighbouring Canadian provinces. 

The presentation was live through Zoom.

If you were unable to join, a recording has been made available below. 

March 15th, 2022 - Sustainable Biomass Heating in Galena, Alaska

Due to increasingly expensive energy prices, the City of Galena, Alaska, a remote northern indigenous community, realized the operability of their boarding school, the Galena Interior Learning Academy (GILA), was significantly threatened.  The school system serves as the main economic driver and central point for many community services and functions.  After analyzing a variety of options, leadership pursued the installation of a wood-fired boiler that replaced the antiquated diesel-fired heat system. Collectively, several community entities formed a nonprofit organization, Sustainable Energy for Galena, Alaska, Inc. (SEGA), which became tasked with providing the required biomass material.  SEGA has implemented a unique resource management strategy, specifically tailored to the needs and opportunities within the community.

The purpose of this presentation is to highlight social and ecological circumstances within the Galena context and share management strategies that have attempted to balance a wide range of local values with the limitations imposed by geography, resource availability, and the economy.  Compared to the status quo, use of the wood-boiler system in Galena has significantly reduced the school’s dependence on imported diesel fuel, while introducing a range of external benefits dispersed throughout the community. 

Tim is a student in the PhD Environment and Sustainability program at the University of Saskatchewan.  Born and raised in Wyoming, U.S.A, Tim received an undergraduate degree in History; Secondary Education at the neighboring University of Northern Colorado and was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Army.  After military service, he and his wife settled in Galena, Alaska, a remote Native Athabascan village located on the banks of the Yukon River in the interior region of the state.  While employed as a public educator at the local Galena high school, Tim obtained a Master of Natural Resources degree with an emphasis in Sustainable Development.  He now has transitioned to a career in the sustainable energy field and manages a locally owned non-profit organization, Sustainable Energy for Galena, Alaska (SEGA).  Tim’s research interests are in collaborative energy planning and sustainable development with the goal of bringing a wider range of benefits to his community and region.  


The presentation was live through Zoom.
Time: March 15th, 2022 12:00 PM CST (Saskatchewan)

If you were unable to join, a recording has been made available below. 


February 22nd, 2022 - Lessons learned from analyzing the integration of renewable generation in the Canadian territories

Performing engineering studies in the north poses different challenges and unique situations that aren't necessarily faced in the South. There may be some key aspects to a project, unique in its socio-political and jurisdictional to any one community, that can be a critical item to address for a project to be successful. In this presentation, Dr. Ross will give insights based on his experience over the past 6 years working in the north and providing technical support to northern communities, Indigenous Governments, and electric power utilities on integrating renewable generation in remote diesel communities.

Dr. Michael Ross is the NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Northern Energy Innovation at Yukon University. His applied research program is governed and directed by the CEOs and managers of the electric power utilities in the Yukon and Northwest Territories: ATCO Electric Yukon, Northwest Territories Power Corporation, and Yukon Energy Corporation, and in partnership with northern communities and Indigenous governments to help address their energy needs. The priority engineering research areas focus on integrating a high penetration of renewable generation in remote communities, diesel efficiencies, demand-side management, smart grids and microgrids. Dr. Ross received his Master’s and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering at McGill University, and his Bachelor’s of Applied Science at the University of Toronto.


The presentation was live through Zoom.
Time: February 22, 2022 12:00 PM Saskatchewan

If you were unable to join, a recording has be made available below. 

January 13th, 2022 - Community Energy Planning

Presented by: Patricia Bell RPP, MCIP - Director of Capacity Development, Community Energy Association 

Since 1993, the Community Energy Association has been working in BC as a registered Canadian charity, with a mandate to assist local governments to reduce energy use and GHG emissions through planning, capacity development and implementation support. 

In 2015, CEA realized that the suite of energy and greenhouse gas emission planning guides we had developed over the years formed the basis for six courses to help those working for or with local governments to comprehensively understand community energy and emissions planning. These courses were developed by CEA and are taught by CEA through the BC Institute of Technology. Students who complete all six courses are eligible to write the Certified Community Energy Manager professional qualifying exam, which is administered by CEA, and receive the CCEM designation. While much of the course material focuses on progress made in BC, the courses include material that is relevant to students from across Canada. 

This webinar will briefly describe the program and reflect on broader issues and lessons learned for training and capacity building. 

Pat is a Registered Professional Planner (RPP, MCIP) with extensive experience in regional, urban and environmental planning, with an emphasis on environmental protection and GHG emission reductions. 

The presentation was live through Zoom.
Time: January 13th, 2022 12:00 PM Saskatchewan

If you were unable to join, a recording has be 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