Laura HughesProgram Director (on leave)

Portrait of Laura Hughes

Laura Hughes was director of the Pembina Institute's equitable transition program, and is currently on leave.

She led the organization’s files on women in the energy transition, the Alberta Narratives Project, and nature-based solutions, and worked with municipalities to support their transitions to renewable energy. 

Laura holds an undergraduate degree in geography from the University of British Columbia and a M.Sc. in environment and resource management from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Her master's thesis was on the environmental economics of climate change in low-lying islands of the South Pacific, with field research conducted in remote Papua New Guinea. Previously, Laura was the program lead for the Alberta Council for Environmental Education, working with youth leaders and providing teacher professional development to teach climate change and energy in K-12 classrooms. She has also worked in environmental conservation across Canada, Panama and Honduras.

On the weekends Laura can be found scrambling or ski touring up any of the Rocky Mountains and on weeknights she can be found at yoga.

Laura Hughes's Recent Publications

Equitable Net-Zero

Equitable Net-Zero Recommendations for advancing gender equity in Alberta’s energy transition

Publication Sept. 15, 2022- By Calyssa Burke, Sarah Winstanley, Jaymes MacKinnon, Laura Hughes
This report outlines ten actions to dismantle existing obstacles to to women benefiting from and succeeding within the energy sector in Alberta. It builds on the Pembina Institute’s 2021 publication Women in Alberta’s Energy Transition, which identified key barriers to participation, and is based on conversations with hundreds of women representing dozens of organizations — both in the traditional oil and gas sector as well as in the burgeoning renewables field — in Alberta.
Woman in construction vest talking on walkie-talkie

Gender inequity problems are flying under the radar in Alberta’s energy sector The sector is shifting in response to the climate crisis – it’s time it evolved on gender issues, too

Op-ed Jan. 17, 2022- By Laura Hughes

The energy industry is one of the least accessible industries for women in the country. But in Alberta in particular, unequal pay is just one of many barriers faced by women interested in entering or currently working in the energy sector – and it’s time for energy companies to start doing something about it, writes Pembina senior analyst Laura Hughes.

Women in Alberta's Energy Transition with two Asian women in hardhats and high-visibility vests walking towards the camera on a green building construction site.

Women in Alberta's Energy Transition A review of barriers to participation and leadership

Publication Oct. 15, 2021- By Genevieve Doiron, Emma Severson-Baker, Laura Hughes

During a time of shifting global energy trends, Alberta's energy industry is also changing. The transition toward renewables provides an opportunity to purposefully create a net-zero energy economy for the province that includes and benefits everyone. This report examines drivers of gender inequity in Alberta's traditional and renewable energy sectors to help inform the policy and cultural shifts needed to ensure an equitable future for women in energy.

Aerial view of the Town of Innisfail's 25-megawatt solar farm, located just off of highway 54

Local leadership brings big renewable energy opportunities to Alberta town How the Innisfail town council kickstarted a conversation, creating a chain reaction of innovative and profitable projects

Blog June 11, 2021- By Sarah Nason, Laura Hughes

The Town of Innisfail is quietly and confidently challenging stereotypes about small town Alberta with its award-winning renewable energy work. Representatives from the town say projects like their new solar farm have been a financial win, boosting their local economy and paving the way forward for even more opportunities.


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