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 (till now) 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 Albertans resistant to renewable energy projects and how can we (re)design such projects to enhance energy transition? Drawing on insights from in-depth interviews with rural landowners and a survey (n = 401) of large-scale landowners, we seek to answer these questions. Analysis is informed by concepts in procedural and distributive justice, with attention to the role of local ownership, inclusion and influence as factors leading to more support for wind farms among Alberta landowners.
John Parkins is a professor of sociology in the Department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology at the University of Alberta. His current research and teaching examines the social context of resource development, renewable and community energy, public deliberation and environmental politics, and sustainable agriculture in Alberta. Recent publications examine case studies of community energy in western Canada, barriers and opportunities for wind power development in Alberta, the social context of public engagement in the Canadian forest sector.
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