Rural Community Resilience in a Low-Carbon Future

How can we build near and long-term resilience in rural communities as the world transitions towards a low-carbon future?


Defining the Challenge

The Issue: Community leaders in Alberta are questioning how their communities can participate and thrive in the global energy transition. 

The Opportunity: To help rural Alberta communities generate deeper understanding and engagement around the opportunities and challenges their jurisdictions may face as a result of energy transition. 

Response to the Innovation Challenge: Bringing the combined knowledge, skills and networks of the Energy Futures Lab Fellows into rural municipalities and Indigenous communities across Alberta as part of the EFL’s Energy Futures Roadshows program.

Unlocking the Challenge

Because every community is a little different, we design and deliver workshops that are tailored to a community’s unique needs and capacities. We strive to leave communities with a clear understanding of how they can move from the development of concepts discussed in community workshops to enabling action in their local areas.

This challenge is guided by the following question: How can we build near and long-term resilience in rural communities as the world transitions towards a low-carbon future?

In response to this Innovation Challenge, identified by Energy Futures Lab Fellows and Partners, we are committed to facilitating solutions-oriented experiences for rural communities in Alberta.

Innovation Approach

The Energy Futures Roadshow is one approach to working collaboratively with rural communities in Alberta. Each Roadshow is collaboratively developed with a host community and includes a series of interactive multi-day workshops, featuring a diversity of community members, including businesses, Indigenous organizations, First Nation or Municipal governments, schools, economic and community developers, and the public. With support from the Energy Futures Lab team and Fellowship, workshops mobilize community members and inspire collaborative action on energy transition opportunities. 

The 2023/2024 Roadshow will feature four workshops. The kick-off workshop involves developing a shared understanding and identifying the communities energy narratives. A subsequent workshop features a facilitated role-playing simulation that allows players to experience decades of energy transition in one day. This experience, called The Newtonian Shift, helps participants better understand the dynamics of transition and what they mean for their community.

In later workshops, communities identify a vision for their energy future, take stock of their actions, reflect on their learnings and prepare to move initiatives forward. People working on community initiatives are invited to apply to be part of the Energy Futures Lab Impact Studio to receive further support.

Energy Futures Roadshows now occur yearly, and the 2023-2024 Roadshow will take place from September 2023 to June 2024. This year, we will be working directly with one municipality to allow for a more in-depth exploration of community needs, and to provide additional support to prospective community-led projects.

What We’ve Accomplished

  • Completion of Energy Futures Roadshows in communities across Alberta including Innisfail, Brooks, Rainbow Lake, Grande Prairie, Hinton, Devon, Crowsnest Pass, Drayton Valley, Red Deer, Whitecourt, and Athabasca.
  • Initiation and continued development of the e-venture electric vehicle charging network in northwest Alberta to bring tourism and other economic development opportunities to communities in this area.  
  • Hosted regular calls with community leaders from all Roadshow communities to share knowledge and experiences across the province. 

Next Steps


  • June 30: Expressions of Interest due (now closed for 2023-2024)
  • August 15: Selection of successful applicant
  • September 5: Begin scheduling for Roadshow workshops with successful community
  • September – December: Orientation (virtual), community outreach, getting prepared
  • January – June: Workshops (in-person)


For questions or enquiries on the Energy Futures Roadshow or how to apply, please contact



Challenge Partners

This work is made possible thanks to funding from Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Climate Action and Awareness Fund. Their generous contribution will allow us to continue engaging with rural communities across Alberta as the energy transition unfolds.