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Clean energy for communities

Accelerating Community Energy Transformation (ACET) is moving Canada closer to a net-zero future by supporting local, place-based clean energy transitions, one community at a time.

From harvesting offshore wind, tidal and solar energy to innovative low-carbon financing and governance models, ACET is integrating breakthrough renewable energy technologies and solutions to scale positive impact for people, places and the planet.

Graphic composite featuring wind bouy in coastal waters

Communities as catalysts

Three key aspects of ACET will drive transformational change:

  • unique bottom-up approach to net-zero objectives through community engaged action and leadership
  • innovative place-based social, policy and economic development
  • translating learnings to community networks around the world
40+

partners, including 5 First Nations

15+

years of community-based energy transition projects

9

interdisciplinary areas of expertise

We're hiring

Are you passionate about making a difference in the clean energy transition? Do you want to be part of an innovative and dynamic team helping drive change from the community level? Join us to be a part of a transformative journey towards a sustainable future.

The Cascade Institute - Energy Systems Transformation team, based at Royal Roads University, is hiring:

Project news

Learn how the ACET project is making a difference in mitigating the impacts of climate change in our communities.

Riley Richardson, a researcher at the Pacific Regional Institute for the Discovery of Marine Energy (PRIMED), University of Victoria

The Power of Waves

CBC Producer Camille Vernet travelled to Nootka Island with UVic researchers to learn how the power of wave energy could help bring the Mowachaht-Muchalaht First Nation back home to the remote ancestral village of Yuquot.

Photo credit: Radio-Canada | Camille Vernet

Curran Crawford smiles at the camera holding a piece of technology.

Fostering sustainable energy transformation

Curran Crawford, Executive Director of ACET, believes an interdisciplinary approach is crucial to implementing sustainable energy systems that are reliable, cost effective and societally driven.

Three people stand on top of a mountain at dusk gazing at the scenery.

From carbon to clean energy

UVic researchers work to accelerate solutions to help communities move away from carbon-based energy. 

Participants of the Community Energy Systems Course in Old Crow, Yukon, March 2023. Participants stand next to rows of solar panels surrounded by snow.

One giant leap closer to net zero

Learn how ACET will support clean energy transformations in remote and Indigenous communities.

Vuntut Gwitchin Government and YukonU train Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation citizens on community energy systems in Old Crow.

Photo credit: Yukon University

Strategic research areas (SRA)

1 Low-carbon & offshore renewable energy tech

Harness, use and store renewables including wave, tidal, hydrogen and offshore wind energy

2 Distributed systems and hybrid microgrids

Develop advanced microgrid controls, systems integration and management

3 Green hydrogen and e-fuels

Develop low-cost, safe and clean hydrogen and other e-fuel vectors

4 Business & finance innovation

Innovate finance and business models, and explore social enterprise potential

5 Integrated energy systems

Complex systems, place-based transitions, worldviews, policy interactions, Indigeneity

6 Scale-up and acceleration

Create transformation strategies scalable to communities worldwide

Meet the ACET team

Lead investigators

Curran Crawford

Dr. Curran Crawford

ACET Lead UVic Faculty of Engineering & Computer Science

Curran Crawford’s research develops and applies computational tools to optimize renewable energy system designs and operations. Application areas include offshore wind and tidal energy, electrified transportation, e-fuels production and carbon capture and sequestration, in partnership with communities and industry, and together with researchers outside engineering.

Institute for Integrated Energy Systems (IESVic)

Q&A with Curran Crawford

Brad Buckham

Dr. Brad Buckham

UVic Faculty of Engineering & Computer Science

Brad Buckham improves designs and operating strategies for offshore technologies using computer simulations. As director of the Pacific Regional Institute for Marine Energy Discovery, he provides international leadership in the study of critical marine energy issues, human dimensions of energy, education and training, and works closely with industry, not-for-profits, and government. His current work includes wave and tidal energy innovations in communities.

Institute for Integrated Energy Systems (IESVic)

Ned Dijali

Dr. Ned Djilali

UVic Faculty of Engineering & Computer Science

Ned Djilali’s work in fuel cell science and technology has shaped the field and includes pioneering computational modeling and design methods that have been adopted by industry. His research program addresses the challenges of large-scale integration of renewable energy, identifies long term pathways for energy and water sustainability, and informs policy.

Institute for Integrated Energy Systems (IESVic)

Tamara Krawchenko

Dr. Tamara Krawchenko

UVic Faculty of Human & Social Development

Tamara Krawchenko specializes in comparative public policy and territorial development. Her scholarship focusses on understanding local/regional assets, challenges and opportunities, and supporting communities to meet their development goals. She has led international research programs on sustainability transitions, urban and rural development, Indigenous economies, and land use governance.

Institute for Integrated Energy Systems (IESVic)

Basma Majerbi

Dr. Basma Majerbi

UVic Peter B. Gustavson School of Business

Basma Majerbi’s research focuses on climate-related financial risks and opportunities and environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors in investment decisions. She consults with the International Monetary Fund and leads a multi-disciplinary Impact Investing Hub that accelerates investment in clean technology and helps SMEs and investors adopt ESG principles and align with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Institute for Integrated Energy Systems (IESVic)

Dr. Madeleine McPherson

UVic Faculty of Engineering & Computer Science

Madeleine McPherson’s expertise lies in sustainable energy systems integration and transitions. She is the co-founder of the Energy Modelling Hub, which convenes modellers and decision makers to support effective policy. Her research focuses on questions relating to variable renewable energy integration, demand response initiatives, utility-scale and behind-the-meter storage technologies, and integrating transport, power, buildings and water systems.

Institute for Integrated Energy Systems (IESVic)

Heidi Kiiwetinepinesiik Stark

Dr. Heidi Kiiwetinepinesiik Stark

UVic Faculty of Human & Social Development

Heidi Kiiwetinepinesiik Stark (Turtle Mountain Ojibwe) specializes in Indigenous law, treaty politics and governance. She is committed to the resurgence of Indigenous legal traditions and institutions that can enable the restoration of relational ways of living, accounting for human responsibilities to the land, waters and other than human relatives. Her strengths also lie in community-engaged research methods and research implementation in Indigenous governance.

Centre for Indigenous Research & Community-Led Engagement

Naoko Ellis

Dr. Naoko Ellis

The University of British Columbia, Faculty of Applied Science

Naoko Ellis is a Professor in the UBC Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, and an Associate Director at the UBC Clean Energy Research Centre. Her research spans from technical solutions around clean energy to understanding complexities around collaborative and sustainability education. She is engaged in transdisciplinary initiatives around the climate emergency and is establishing the Systems Beings Lab to foster systems perspectives to tackle complex challenges.

Clean Energy Research Centre (CERC)

Thomas Homer Dixon

Dr. Thomas Homer-Dixon

Royal Roads University, School of Environment & Sustainability

Thomas Homer-Dixon is an adjunct professor with the School of Environment and Sustainability and the founder and director of the Cascade Institute at Royal Roads University. His research is focused on threats to global security in the 21st century, including economic instability, climate change, and energy scarcity and on how people, organizations, and societies can better resolve their conflicts and innovate in response to complex problems.

Cascade Institute

Michael Ross

Dr. Michael Ross

NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Northern Energy Innovation Yukon University

Michael Ross’ research program is governed and directed by northern electric power utilities, and in partnership with northern communities and Indigenous governments. His research focuses on integrating a high penetration of renewable generation in remote communities, diesel efficiencies, demand-side management, and microgrids as they pertain to northern and remote electric power systems. 

YukonU Research Centre

Samaneh Shahgaldi

Dr. Samaneh Shahgaldi

Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, Department of Chemistry, Biochemistry & Physics

Samaneh Shahgaldi is an Associate Professor at the University of Quebec and an Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Waterloo. She holds the Canada Research Chair (CRC) at proton exchange membrane fuel cells and electrolyzer. She is an award-wining researcher and chair of scientific committee and a member of the editorial board of the International Journal of Green Energy. She was also a Senior Research Scientist at Cummins/ Hydrogenics dealing with different Fuel Cell and Water electrolyzer projects. She has published more than 50 scientific papers with more than 2000 citations.

Hydrogen Research Institute (HRI)

Academic partners

Royal Roads University logo
Logo of Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières
Logo of University of British Columbia
Yukon University logo

  • Council of the Haida Nation
  • Malahat First Nation
  • Mowachaht-Muchalaht First Nation
  • Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation Government
  • Dease River Development Corporation

  • Barkley Project Group Ltd.
  • BC Centre for Innovation and Clean Energy
  • BC Hydro
  • BC Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation
  • BC Sustainable Energy Association
  • Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS)
  • Centre for Ocean Applied Sustainable Technologies (COAST)
  • South Island Prosperity Partnership
  • Indigenous Prosperity Centre
  • Rainhouse Manufacturing Canada Ltd.
  • Scale Collaborative
  • Capital Regional District (Greater Victoria)
  • City of Victoria
  • City of Saanich
  • Yukon Government
  • Yukon Energy Corporation
  • ATCO Electric Yukon

  • Alacrity
  • Foresight Canada
  • BMT
  • Pembina Institute
  • Marine Renewables Canada
  • Ocean Networks Canada (ONC)

  • University of Rhode Island (US)
  • Pacific Marine Energy Center (US)
  • Sustainable Marine Energy (UK)
  • International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (Austria)
  • Green Digital Finance Alliance (Switzerland)
  • Social Ocean Energy Project (Switzerland)
  • CorPower Ocean (Sweden)
  • Waves4Power (Sweden)
This research was undertaken thanks in part to funding from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund.

Institute for Integrated Energy Systems at the University of Victoria (IESVic)

Accelerating Community Energy Transformation (ACET) is an initiative of the Institute for Integrated Energy Systems at the University of Victoria (IESVic). For more than 30 years, IESVic has developed and advanced the most innovative interdisciplinary clean energy technologies. Their mission is to chart feasible pathways to sustainable energy systems through the development of new technologies, processes, and systems.

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