This partnership will build Canadian research capacity around the societal and policy dimensions of smart grids. In particular, it aims to: develop knowledge of the social, economic and political contexts of smart grid development in Canada; build an understanding of different societal perspectives on the emerging smart grid and of the controversies associated with its deployment; develop collaborative interactions among partner organizations and with other interested societal stakeholders to appreciate distinctive perspectives and concerns and to promote joint problem-solving in the smart grid realm; and analyze key public policy challenges related to smart grids, formulate alternative approaches, and provide tools for stakeholders and decision makers.
The project is supported by a Partnership Development Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).
Canadian academic researchers
James Meadowcroft (Project Director)
|Professor, School of Public Policy and Administration||Carleton University|
|Ian Rowlands (Project Co-Director)||Professor, Department of Environment, Resources & Sustainability||University of Waterloo|
|Jonn Axsen||Assistant Professor, School of Resource and Environmental Management||Simon Fraser University|
|Maya Jegen||Professeure Reguliere, Science Politique||Universite du Quebec a Montreal|
|Geoffrey Lewis||Assistant Professor, School of Planning||University of Waterloo|
|Alexandra Mallett||Assistant Professor, School of Public Policy and Administration||Carleton University|
|Paul Parker||Professor, Department of Geography and Environmental Management||University of Waterloo|
|Glen Toner||Professor, School of Public Policy and Administration||Carleton University|
|Mark Winfield||Associate Professor, Faculty of Environmental Studies||York University|
Collaborators: U.S. academic researchers
|Professor, Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences||Texas A&M University|
|Jennie Stephens||David Blittersdorf Professor of Sustainability Science and Policy, Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources||University of Vermont|
|Elizabeth Wilson||Associate Professor, Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs||University of Minnesota|
Collaborators: Societal partners
- ENMAX Corporation
- Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO)
- Natural Resources Canada
- NSERC Smart Microgird Network
- Ontario Ministry of Energy
- Pembina Institute
- Rodan Energy Solutions Inc.
- SmartGrid Canada
As the project enters its final stages, additional papers are reporting upon later-phase activities. For instance, a report on a Leadership Workshop held in November 2015, can be found here (.pdf). And building off of that workshop, an article that was published in August 2016 in Municipal World -- entitled, 'Do We Have The Energy For This? (.pdf)' (by Dane Labonte and Ian H. Rowlands).
Additional papers will be posted in the coming months.
Second workshop held
Partnership researchers again gathered just north of Ottawa in May 2014 for their second workshop. Seven presentations (listed and hyperlinked below) were made; review of progress to date (including published output, also noted below) and discussion of plans for the coming year also took place.
- Beyond Smart Meters: Ontario Smart Grid Policy Development (.pdf) - (Mark Winfield and Scott Weiler, both York University)
- Challenges for Quebec's Smart Grid Development (.pdf) - (Xavier D. Philion and Maya Jegen, both Universite du Quebec a Montreal)
- Exploring Consumer Acceptance for Utility Controlled Charging of Plug-in Electric Vehicles (.pdf) - (Joseph Bailey and Jonn Axsen, both Simon Fraser University)
- Smart Grid Deployment in BC (.pdf) (Derek Peters, Simon Fraser University)
- Stakeholders' Perspectives on Smart Grids: Report on US Focus Groups (.pdf) - (Jennie Stephens, Clark University; Elizabeth Wilson, University of Minnesota)
- What's Going on in Summerside? (.pdf) - (Nick Belanger and Ian Rowlands, both University of Waterloo)
- When Push Comes to Shove: Public Policies, Social Acceptance and Canadian Smart Grids Experiences Through the Media (.pdf) - (Alexandra Mallett, Ryan Reiber and Danny Rosenbloom, all Carleton University; Xaiver D.-Philion and Maya Jegen, both Universite du Quebec a Montreal)
Key project outputs to date
Academic conferences papers
- Maya Jegen and Xavier D. Philion, ‘Are Monopolies and Abundant Renewable Energy Supplies Bad for Smart Grid Development? A Media Analysis of Quebec’s Smart Grid Coverage’, presented at the Annual Meeting for the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S), 9-12 October 2013, San Diego, CA, 19 pp.
- A panel was organized for the Annual Conference of the Canadian Political Science Association of Canada, and it was entitled, ‘Policy and Sustainable Energy Transition: The Case of Smart Grids in Canada’ (29 May 2014, St. Catherine’s, ON). The following papers were presented:
- Maya Jegen and Xavier D. Philion (both Université du Québec à Montréal), Challenges for Quebec's Smart Grid Development (.pdf)
- Alexandra Mallett (Carleton University), Xavier Deschênes-Philion (Université du Québec à Montréal), Ryan Reiber (Carleton University), Danny Rosenbloom (Carleton University), When Push Comes to Shove: Canadian Smart Grids Experiences Through the Media (.pdf)
- Mark Winfield (York University), Scott Weiler (York University), The Policy and Politics of Technological Transitions: The Case of Smart Grids in Ontario
A workshop was held in Toronto to investigate the prospects for increased electricity connection between the provinces of Ontario and Québec (23 May 2014). The workshop was entitled, ‘Ontario, Quebec and Electricity: Time for a New Relationship?’, and the panelists were Jack Gibbons (Ontario Clean Air Alliance), Pierre-Olivier Pineau (HEC Montreal) and Jack Burkom (Brookfield Energy); Mark Winfield (York University) moderated. The workshop was attended by approximately 80 people (with another 10 watching and listening through the web connection) and received media attention afterwards (John Spears, ‘Boost Quebec-Ontario Hydro Trade, Experts Urge’, The Toronto Star, 23 May 2014; and Jeffrey Simpson, ‘Hydro Imports: When Will the Bulb Go On for Ontario and Quebec?’, The Globe and Mail, 6 June 2014). For related discussions, see Mark Winfield and Pierre Olivier Pineau, 'The Next Step for Ontario's Energy Mix', The Ottawa Citizen, 23 June 2014; and Pierre-Olivier Pineau and Mark Winfield, 'Le Quebec, l'Ontario, l'electricite et les changements climatiques: L'heure de revoir les liens?'.
- Jennie C. Stephens, Elizabeth J. Wilson, Tarla R. Peterson and James Meadowcroft. 2013. Getting Smart: Climate Change and the Electric Grid. Challenges. 4 (2) 201-216.
- Nicholas Belanger, ‘A Canadian Smart Grid in Transition: A Case Study of Heat for Less’ (Waterloo, ON: University of Waterloo, MES thesis, May 2014).
First workshop held
Partnership researchers gathered just north of Ottawa in May 2013 for their first workshop. Eight presentations (listed and hyperlinked below) were made, and discussions about work for the coming year took place.
- A Regional Comparison of Smart Grids (.pdf) - (Tarla Peterson, Texas A&M; Jennie Stephens, Clark University; and Elizabeth Wilson, University of Minnesota)
- A Smarter Grid for Climate Change? (.pdf) - (Jennie Stephens, Clark University; Elizabeth Wilson, University of Minnesota; Tarla Peterson, Texas A&M; and James Meadowcroft, Carleton University)
- Citizen Perceptions of Smart Meters (.pdf) - (Derek Peters, Simon Fraser University)
- Linking Plug-in Vehicles to Renewable Energy (.pdf) - (Jonn Axsen, Simon Fraser University)
- Smart Energy Network (.pdf) - (Nicholas Belanger and Ian Rowlands, University of Waterloo)
- Smart Grid Development in Quebec (.pdf) - (Xavier Deschenes-Philion and Maya Jegen)
- Smart Grid: Evolution or Revolution, Ontario State of Play (.pdf) - (Scott Weiler, York University)
- Visions of Smart Grids in Canada (.pdf) - (Alexandra Mallett, Ryan Reiber, and Danny Rosenbloom, Carleton University).