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Energy Strategies Towards Sustainability: a Comparative Analysis of Community Energy Plans From Sweden and Canada

This thesis examines community energy planning in Sweden and Canada with the aim of revealing strategies that move communities towards energy sustainability. Unsustainable energy activities are identified as major threats on both local and global levels. The challenges for energy systems are discussed and a possible scenario of a future community with sustainable energy production and consumption is presented.

The literature review examines community energy planning guidebooks and key theoretical and methodological concepts including ingenuity, soft energy paths and backcasting from socio-ecological principles of sustainability. Following an analysis of energy supply and demand in a broad systems context, and a review of policies and programs supporting or hindering community energy planning, energy plans from eleven Swedish and eleven Canadian communities are evaluated.

Characteristics of progressive energy planning as uncovered in the literature review form a framework for evaluating the visions, strategies and actions described in the plans. Sweden is recognized as an early player in community energy planning. Although Swedish energy plans do not contain all of the identified progressive strategies, national leadership and funding have played a role in Sweden’s successes. More recent Canadian plans are found to be highly progressive, suggesting that Canadian communities who follow their plans can too be successful in transforming their energy systems towards sustainability.
Source: Blekinge Institute of Technology
Authors: Acosta, Kerly | Sangari, Arash | Webster, Jessica

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