As we hurtle towards a global climate catastrophe, the importance of renewable energy and resource resilience for society becomes dramatically more important.
One of the most critical emerging growth areas of the sector appears to be in community-led energy systems. Renewable energy installations co-located with villages, towns, or cities provide a hefty double benefit; along with local jobs and a long-term revenue stream to the community, they provide a ready source of back-up electricity supply, especially when coupled with battery storage technology. In an increasingly chaotic and supply-disrupted future, having the lights on may truly be the defining parameter of liveability and continuity for communities, if not society.
To illustrate community-based renewable energy systems in action, here are several Canadian examples. Its no coincidence that real leadership in this sector thus far has come from Indigenous communities.
Cowesses First Nation, Saskatchewan
800kw wind turbine, 200kw of solar, integrated with battery storage system
Fort Chipewyan, Alberta
2.8MW off-grid solar installation with 2.5MW capacity battery storage system
First municipality in North America to match and install solar PV for all municipal loads
Green Acres Hutterite Colony, Alberta
2MW solar farm to offset colony plastics business energy consumption
The University of Alberta recently completed substantial research on the rural community renewables opportunity in Canada. It details the parameters involved, and also catalogs a large number of example projects across the country. Read it here.
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