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Community Energy Planning for Increased Resilience in Churchill, Manitoba, Canada

Authors: Michael Kvern*, University of Winnipeg, Patricia Fitzpatrick, University of Winnipeg
Topics: Energy, Human-Environment Geography, Canada
Keywords: Resilience, Community Energy Planning, Energy, Churchill
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Imagine the impact to you and your neighbours if a winter storm, hundreds of kilometers away knocked out your power for several days when the majority of your community relies on electricity for heat. Energy systems in northern and remote communities are vulnerable to a variety of threats and have low resilience. However, community energy plans (CEP) can provide opportunities to increase resilience by identifying opportunities to increase sustainability and security. This research begins the process of CEP by working with the community to develop an energy profile and draft vision statement. Electricity, propane, gasoline and diesel data are organized and displayed using ArcGIS as a tool to communicate consumption. Semi-structured interviews with 27 key informants explored topics of energy usage, patterns, issues and alternatives. A community workshop was held that facilitated discussion on priorities to be included in a vision. Fossil fuels account for 75% of Churchill’s energy use including 5.4 million litres of jet fuel. Churchill also consumes over 27 million kilowatt hours of hydroelectricity. High cost – both of the current energy system, and those associated with potential changes – are a key concern of the residents. Lack of agency related to both generation as well as conservation is a key challenge identified by participants. This energy profile allows Churchill to begin reclaiming its energy system and develop a CEP that will take actions to increase the resilience of its system.

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