Monthly Archives: April 2016

Alberta Community Energy Workshop

On February 16, 2016, over 80 community stakeholders came together in Calgary to discuss community-owned renewable energy (RE) at the Alberta Community Energy Workshop. Hosted by the Pembina InstituteCalgary Economic DevelopmentTREC, and People Power Planet, the aim of the workshop was to build excitement around community renewable energy, to foster connections between those in attendance, and to begin a letter campaign encouraging change at the policy level. Those attending the workshop showed the broad interest that Albertans have in Community RE – participants included academics from universities, individuals from non-profits, energy retailers, First Nations representatives, plus many politicians and civil servants from the provincial government.











The workshop identified three major barriers to community-owed RE development in Alberta: price stability, financing, and local capacity. Despite these barriers, renewable energy being driven and created by the community isn’t just a theory, it’s a practice with viable examples throughout our province. The town of Devon has taken a leadership role in its own energy production to combat the unstable costs of natural gas. By joining the forces of citizens, civil servants, and the provincial government, the town has undertaken a project that will see the installation of 48,000 solar panels. Through this renewable energy program, Devon has negotiated stable electricity prices for the next 30 years, with the added benefit of leaving a significantly smaller carbon footprint compared to their current natural gas and coal-based systems.











Vulcan is also leading the way by developing the Vulcan Solar Park, the first project of its kind in Canada. Situated on privately owned land, this project will have an enormous impact on energy in Alberta, with the ability to power over 8500 Alberta homes using clean energy. The benefits for Vulcan don’t stop with a lower carbon footprint or lower energy prices; there is also a focus on community-building and education. With a focus on keeping the The Solar Park aesthetically pleasing, it’s being developed into a functional park, with the solar modules including information about solar energy to help educate visitors. By combining the solar farm with a new community green space, those living in Vulcan will also benefit from increased capacity for tourism and community-building.

A group of Calgarians have launched the Alberta Solar Co-op, which aims to take on the rising demand for renewable and community-driven energy options. Their intention is to a solar farmed owned solely by Albertans. This will be a significant step towards making Alberta’s energy greener by putting enough energy to power 400 homes onto the grid. The aim is to give individuals the opportunity to invest in and have ownership of renewable energy – to encourage renewable energy development in Alberta but also share in revenue created by the project.

Solar Coop Logo






Community-owned RE has benefits beyond decreasing carbon footprints and making power more affordable. Citizens have the ability to be directly involved in the energy systems their cities and provinces are developing. Local energy projects also provide ongoing job opportunities through the creation, development, installation, and maintenance of the modules and structures. If you want to learn more or build on the excitement from the February meeting, see below for ways to get involved!

More Information on Community Owned Renewable Energy

Pembina’s Community Owned Renewable Energy Factsheet

Devon Dispatch Article on Solar Power

Prairie Post Article on the Solar Park Development

A brief history of Albert’as Solar Industry from the National Observer

You can check out all the presentations from The Alberta Community Energy Workshop

Take Action

Write a letter to your MLA (a form letter is available to download)

Become a Member of SPARK – The Alberta Renewable Energy Cooperative

Follow Pembina on Twitter and Facebook

Follow the Alberta Solar Coop on Twitter and Facebook


Written by Chelsea Detheridge, with support and resources from Barend Dronkers of the Pembina Institute.

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Awaken Your Company With Help From Catherine Bell

Author Catherine Bell hosts an inspiring evening during REAP’s Down to Earth Week









Catherine Bell is the co-founder of BluEra – a business consultancy and one of Calgary’s fastest-growing companies in 2015 – and the bestselling author of The Awakened Company. For Down to Earth Week, Catherine will be presenting what this movement means.

An “awakened company” is one that challenges the status quo, that seeks to benefit its employees, community, and the planet – not just see them as resources.

“It’s not okay that a majority of people at work are disengaged, or that most people would rate doing chores above spending time with their bosses,” Catherine says.

In her book, Catherine and her co-authors Russ Hudson and Christopher Papadopoulos use real-life examples of awakened companies around the world to provide solutions to companies that want to reinvent themselves as such. The solutions are based on three pillars of thought: business research, wisdom traditions, and practical knowledge.

With the shifting political climate in Alberta, Catherine wants to provide a way of being that will “activate individual relationships and companies in a new way, and help them to sustain times like this.”

“It is going to take a community rising, and uplifting everyone to arrive at a new way of working together,” says Catherine. “I truly believe that the world’s greatest challenges will be solved by people working better together.”

Catherine promises a fun and inspirational evening. She will share her philosophy and the lessons she learned from writing the book and starting her own company from her own pocket, such as the importance of vulnerability and failure.

“I have failed, failed again, and failed better”, she says. “But is it necessarily failure if we learn something significant?”

The event will also incorporate Alberta BoostR Stage pitches – ATB Financial’s crowdfunding platform, which is like Kickstarter for social business. Five local social entrepreneurs will be pitching their business plans to the audience and a panel of judges (of which Catherine Bell is one) for a chance to receive a $1,000 boost from ATB Financial.

“Now is the opportunity for us in Alberta to build something new, and we can do it together.”


  1. Register now for the Awakened Company event on April 15, 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Civic on Third. You’ll get a copy of Catherine’s book as well as dinner, networking, and all the inspiration you can handle with your ticket.
  2. Unable to make it to the event? Purchase The Awakened Company from any of these retailers.
  3. Check out Catherine’s blogs on Awakened Company and BluEra.
  4. Follow Catherine and The Awakened Company on social media: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
  5. Win two tickets to an intimate evening with singer Sarah McLachlan for Project Warmth, courtesy of Awakened Company. Post to Awakened Company’s Twitter or Facebook pages and tag someone from your workplace who brings joy to your day to be entered to win!
  6. Curious about the other events we’re hosting during Down to Earth Week 2016? Click here for details of our local fashion and impact investing events on April 12 & 13.

(Cross-posted from


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