Lack of action to facilitate deep green transitions at both provincial and federal policy levels in Canada has led to an increased interest in how specific community-based actors can spur change at local levels. Drawing from research conducted by the BC-Alberta Social Economy Research Alliance (BALTA) in 2009 and 2010, this paper argues that bottom-up community mobilization, together with significant policy shifts are crucial today. First, it outlines briefly the conceptual and theoretical links between the social economy, renewables and sustainability. Second, it summarizes the results of research undertaken on the status and prospects for social economy actors (co-operatives in particular) in developing renewable electricity in Alberta, Canada. Ultimately, I argue that institutional innovations within the social economy may make important contributions to building sustainable futures in Canada. Community control, economic development and education and movement building are but three of the benefits these actors bring to renewables development. Particular strengths also exist in both the long history and deep local roots of social economy actors. At the same time, challenges of lack of financial resources and supportive policy at this point in time exist.
|Keywords:||Social Economy, Sustainability, Canada, Electricity|
PhD Candidate, Political Science, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, B.C., Canada