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Accepted Paper:

Navigating Alberta's Energy Tomorrow: Balancing the Shift from Fossil Fuels to Renewable Sources.  
Anna Bettini (University of Calgary)

Paper Short Abstract:

Recent discussions on Alberta's changing energy landscape, a central hub for oil and gas in Canada, unveil both progress and uncertainties for fossil fuel workers and rural communities. This paper examines the current challenges within its energy landscape, reflecting on the future of oil and gas.

Paper Abstract:

Alberta, recognized as the epicentre of Canada's energy sector, is amidst a profound transformation intricately shaped by economic, cultural, and environmental dynamics. The province's identity is deeply interwoven with fossil fuels, particularly the extraction of oil and gas, which has left an indelible mark on its economy and societal fabric. Recent challenges, including plummeting prices, pipeline disputes, and workforce uncertainties, have cast shadows over this sector. As the Canadian government embraces a net-zero carbon emissions target by 2050, the industry faces an inevitable decline, posing a potential risk of displacement for hundreds of thousands of workers.

Concurrently, Alberta is witnessing a significant shift towards renewable energy, marked by substantial solar and wind project investments. This transition not only opens avenues for new job opportunities and economic growth but also extends positive impacts to local communities. This paradigm shift is complex, sparking debates around land use, environmental preservation, and community socio-economic repercussions.

In early August 2023, Premier Danielle Smith's announcement of a six-month moratorium on all renewable energy projects, spanning wind, solar, hydro, and geothermal developments, has cast a dense fog of uncertainty over Alberta's energy future. This temporary pause, aimed at addressing the concerns of landowners and farmers, holds the promise of reviewing construction policies, evaluating their impact on the power grid, and devising decommissioning protocols.

This paper draws from ethnographic interviews to explore the intricate balance of transitioning to cleaner energy, emphasizing strategies for environmental stewardship and community livelihoods in the "after oil and gas" world.

Panel P217
Life after oil? Undoing the contradictions of the energy transition [Environmental Anthropology Network (EAN)]
  Session 1 Wednesday 24 July, 2024, -