Sustainable development and energy systems: shaping Canada’s energy transition
Countries around the world are facing major disruptions to their established energy systems, and Canada is no different. The energy transition in Canada is shaped by economic considerations, environmental considerations, such as climate change, and social considerations, such as reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. Given these diverse considerations, it is not always clear how to properly manage the tensions and trade-offs within energy transitions. My research examined how the concept of sustainable development could be used to navigate the energy transition in Canada towards a more affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy system. My research findings identified challenges faced by energy practitioners in Canada, identified important and underexplored topics in Canada’s energy transition, and suggested that an Integrated Model of Sustainable Development could be a useful concept for energy transitions. This Integrated Model is grounded in reason, science, humanism, and progress, which enables energy practitioners to find common ground in a polarized environment and overcome existing impasses in the energy transition. Further research could investigate the usefulness of an Integrate Model of Sustainable Development in addressing other complex sustainability challenges. This dissertation by portfolio includes four distinct portfolio products. First, a journal article published in Sustainability that conducted a case study of the Energy Futures Lab in Canada and introduced an Integrated Model of Sustainable Development as a guide to the energy transition in Canada. Second, a journal article submitted to Energy Research and Social Science that examined the challenges faced by Canadian energy practitioners and discussed how the three strategies of sustainable development could be useful in different energy transition situations. Third, a journal article submitted to FACETS that identified important topics and underexplored topics in Canada’s energy transition, and discussed how an Integrated Model of Sustainable Development could increase understanding of these topics and generate solutions. The fourth product is a white paper that shares the results of my research with energy practitioners in plain language.