Canada is known for being an energy-producing nation – with much attention being paid to the Alberta tar sands and their large carbon footprint. This book looks at a very different part of the Canadian energy sector: the hundreds of renewable energy co-ops that have sprung up across the nation. These co-ops are democratically structured, community-based organizations that use sun, wind, rivers, tides, and plant and animal waste as sources of local power generation.
Empowering Electricity offers an illuminating analysis of these co-ops within the context of larger debates over climate change, renewable electricity policy, sustainable community development, and provincial power-sector ownership. It looks at the conditions that led to this new wave of co-operative development, examines their form and location, and shines a light on the promises and challenges accompanying their development.
This analysis of electricity co-ops in Canada will interest industry experts, policy makers, sustainability advocates, community development leaders, and students.
Empowering Electricity is an empirically-grounded contribution to the literature on citizen engagement and energy policy in Canada. In particular, it provides a fresh take on BC energy politics that gets beyond the entrenched public/private dichotomy to explore one possible middle ground. While MacArthur implies that electricity co-operatives have the potential to erode public power in BC, her suggestion of co-operatives partnering with municipalities and First Nations may actually offer a new, politically viable approach to public power develpment that is both more democratic and locally acceptable than the current model.
Julie MacArthur’s timely analysis of electricity co-operatives provides essential information that should influence future discussions about climate change, greenhouse gas mitigation, energy security, and renewable energy in this country.
Julie L. MacArthur is a lecturer in politics and international relations in the Master of Public Policy program at the University of Auckland.
Preface and Acknowledgments
1 A Climate for Change
2 Governing Sustainability: From Crisis to Empowerment
3 Co-operatives in Canadian Political Economy
4 International Forces for Power-Sector Restructuring
5 Continental, Private, and Green(er)? Canadian Electricity Restructuring
6 Electricity Co-operatives: The Power of Public Policy
7 Off the Ground and on the Grid: New Electricity Co-operative Development
8 Co-operative Networks and the Politics of Community Power
9 Empowering Electricity
Empowering Communities and Sustainable Businesses
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