Beyond NIMBY: Designing the Future of Community-Based Renewable Energy in Alberta

Global Friday Poster - October 30, 2020
Friday, October 30, 2020 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm

Global Friday Presents
Dr. John Parkins
Department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology
University of Alberta

ABSTRACT:  Alberta is an energy powerhouse, but support for renewable energy is weak, especially in rural areas where most energy production is located. Energy development is also large scale, with limited attention to smaller-scale and community-based projects. Given this context, our recent work in Alberta asks two key questions: Why are Albertan's resistant to renewable energy projects and how can we (re)design such projects to enhance energy transition? Drawing on recent research, including in-depth case studies and a factorial experiment survey (n = 401) with large-scale landowners, we seek to answer these questions. Consistent with social science evidence that NIMBY is not an adequate explanation for public resistance to energy projects, results illustrate concerns about the behaviour of wind power project proponents and a desire for more local ownership structures, such as cooperatives. This presentation identifies insights that extend beyond conventional reasons for public opposition to energy projects.

Speaker Bio:  John Parkins is professor of sociology in the Department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology. After a ten year stint at the Canadian Forest Service, he joined the university in 2007 with teaching and research interests in rural development and environmental politics. His current research examines the social context of energy transition in Canada, with attention to linkages between energy development and rural community development.

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Global Friday gratefully acknowledges funding from the Dean of CASHS.

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