Community and Educational Support

Supporting communities through the clean energy transition  RESOURCES Series: Climate and energy policy advancementsSeries: Remote Communities Energy in...

Renewables in Remote communities - community

Supporting communities through the clean energy transition 

As part of our commitment to supporting Indigenous remote communities as they transition off diesel, we develop tools and resources, hold workshops and webinars and help build technical and policy capacity in communities.

These efforts are driven through a commitment to strong and respectful relations with Indigenous Peoples and communities. 

What we offer

hcommunity supportCommunity support

Providing climate and energy policy expertise directly to communities and community clean energy champions to support project development and clean energy advocacy efforts.

hcommunity supportEducation

Developing resources, building knowledge, and simplifying the complex technical, policy, and regulatory aspects of the clean energy transtion for Indigenous communities, businesses, and energy champions. 


Engagement and support 
For inquiries about how Pembina can support your community's energy transition, contact us

Series: Climate and energy policy advancements

The Climate and energy policy advancements: Eliminating diesel in Canada’s remote communities, series provides insights, details and analysis of each of the specific policies we advocate for under our Renewables in Remote Communities (RiRC) program. This series was developed as part of the Pembina Institutes' participation in the Indigenous Off-diesel Initiative (IODI)

Expand to read about the key policy recommendations stemming from the Eliminating diesel in Canada’s remote communities series. 

Solar panels over Jeremias Sillit Community Center, Nain, Newfoundland and Labrador.

Clean energy capacity building in remote communities Lessons learned from the Pembina Institute's involvement in the Indigenous Off-diesel Initiative

Blog Dec. 21, 2023- By Emily He, Bhan Gatkuoth
From 2018 to 2023, the Pembina Institute was a proud co-delivery agent of the Indigenous Off-diesel Initiative (IODI), which gave Indigenous leaders in remote communities across Canada funding and skills development support to work on clean energy transformation in remote Indigenous communities. Here we amplify positive aspects and key recommendations stemming from our participation in IODI.

Solar panels

Government action on UNDRIP and the clean energy transition Upholding the rights of Indigenous Peoples is key to the energy transition in remote communities

Blog May 31, 2023- By Arthur Bledsoe, Katarina Savic
Indigenous communities continue to face persistent economic, regulatory, and political barriers as they seek to reduce diesel dependency and realize energy sovereignty. Confronting these barriers through a commitment to the inclusion of Indigenous leadership within decision-making and design processes can support the advancement of multiple government priorities. Key among them include the implementation of UNDRIP into Canadian law.

Electric vehicle charging station in the Yukon

How remote communities should be included in the push to electrify transportation Government funding and programming need to address the unique barriers remote communities face

Blog Aug. 30, 2022- By Madeleine Whitestone
The decarbonization of transportation systems is crucial to reducing diesel reliance and achieving Canada’s net-zero targets. In many northern and remote communities transportation-related emissions represented over half of total greenhouse gas emissions in 2019.

Home in remote community with diesel tanks

Remote communities transitioning to clean energy need better housing Governments must prioritize energy efficiency to successfully reduce diesel dependency

Blog July 20, 2022- By Emily He
Over half of the total diesel consumed in remote, often northern, communities is associated with heating buildings and homes. For federal and provincial governments to meet their commitments to support Indigenous communities to get off diesel, they must take a quality housing first approach.


Three clean energy options that could help replace diesel Hydrogen, small modular reactors and energy generated by the ocean are all under consideration in remote communities

Blog March 23, 2022- By Katarina Savic, Dave Lovekin

In remote communities across Canada, low-carbon power sources such as hydrogen, nuclear, and energy generated by movement in the ocean are being studied more closely. Each of these clean energy technologies are options under consideration as remote Indigenous communities further their efforts to eliminate dependence on diesel power.

Cover of report; image shows wind turbine construction in the North

From diesel dependency to energy empowerment Six energy service models that could fast-track climate action in remote communities

Publication Feb. 9, 2022- By Emily He, Madeleine Whitestone

Systemic barriers continue to prevent clean energy projects from moving ahead in remote communities across Canada. This paper presents six Energy Service Models that offer options for clean energy proponents to develop, build, and operate projects by alleviating some of the challenges associated with lack of capacity and capital.

Solar installation in Northern Alberta

When business-as-usual is a barrier to clean energy In remote communities, utilities need to change to meet climate goals and consumer needs

Blog Sept. 13, 2021- By Emily He

The way utilities deliver energy to remote communities and generate revenue discourages the purchase of renewable energy as well as the implementation of energy efficiency measures. For Indigenous communities to realize a clean energy future this needs to change.

Cover of Reducing Emissions from Diesel Generators

Reducing emissions from diesel generators in remote communities How smart policy decisions can drive the transition to renewables

Publication July 28, 2021- By Emily He

As remote communities switch from diesel to renewables, smart policy changes can advance ways to reduce the carbon intensity of existing generators, lower emissions, and pave the way to a clean energy system. This issue paper reviews some options.

Grid-tied solar installation

Better government policies will unlock the cash remote Indigenous communities need for clean energy Innovative government funding policy and strategic private partnerships are essential to finance Indigenous-owned power generation

Blog May 4, 2021- By Marvin Quitoras

Indigenous communities that are transitioning from diesel energy face barriers in financing their clean energy infrastructure. But governments can create the policies and programs that will give Indigenous communities better access to the money they need, either by providing financing themselves or by fostering the conditions that promote private investment.

Solar energy system in Fort Chipewyan, Alberta

What’s a fair and equitable price for renewable energy in remote communities? The rate structure of power purchase agreements in remote communities needs radical transformation to advance renewable energy projects

Blog March 10, 2021- By Marvin Quitoras

A well-designed independent power producer policy with a fair and equitable power purchase agreement rate promotes the adoption of locally led renewable energy projects in remote communities. A fair and equitable energy price must capture the full costs of building and operating a diesel-based energy system within an accurate PPA rate structure for renewable-energy projects. As well, energy developers in remote communities must include community- and Indigenous-led electricity developers.

How to boost renewable energy integration in remote communities Energy policy needs to catch up as innovations allow for effective integration of renewables in microgrids

Blog Jan. 21, 2021- By Marvin Quitoras

The widespread adoption of renewable energy could displace the centralized system of generating and distributing energy to customers and provide opportunities to unlock a more decentralized (distributed) way of managing energy. But reducing reliance on diesel, and empowering communities to produce their own energy, depends upon the support of governments, utilities, communities and consumers for the shift from centralized microgrid systems to more distributed energy generation.

Rethinking energy policy in Canada’s remote communities Moving from the diesel of the past to a clean energy future

Blog Nov. 18, 2020- By Marvin Quitoras

Through policy work done under our Renewables in Remote Communities program and the Indigenous Off-diesel Initiative, we are advancing work in two overarching and eight specific policy areas to support energy projects being led by Indigenous champions involved in the IODI program.

Series: Remote Communities Energy in Transition

This  Remote Communities Energy in Transition series offers analysis on the challenges, opportunities, and solutions associated with the integration of renewable energy into remote communities’ microgrids. These publications cover the advancements in technical, financial, and human capacity, energy policy, and regulations needed to transition remote communities to clean energy.

Expand to explore our research and analysis from the Remote Communities Energy in Transition series. 

Tracking diesel reduction progress in remote communities Report shows current diesel use in remote communities, and outlines goals and future opportunities for diesel reduction

Blog July 8, 2020- By Dave Lovekin

In the past few years, important progress has been made toward reducing diesel dependency in remote communities. As a result of years of leadership and work within Indigenous communities to build capacity, impressively large renewable energy projects are coming on-line, and communities are leading their own energy transition. Increases in government funding programs that support diesel reduction projects have been important to recent progress.

Solar panels in a field

How B.C. can be a leader in economic reconciliation B.C.’s Indigenous utility regulatory inquiry – what does it all mean?

Blog June 12, 2020- By Dave Lovekin, Saeed Kaddoura

Of the 300-plus distinct First Nations reserves in British Columbia, 27 are remote communities, and most of these rely heavily on diesel generators as their primary energy source. But rather than depending on shipments of diesel into their hard-to-reach communities, they could harness abundant local renewable energy resources such as sun, wind, water and biomass to create local energy solutions that contribute to economic independence while creating local jobs.

Solar panels installated at a remote Canadian community

Rebuilding Canada’s economy includes energy resiliency in remote communities Communities need a thoughtful economic rebuild that makes us more resilient

Blog May 19, 2020- By Dave Lovekin

This is the moment to create a roadmap for a society that is more resilient to these macro shocks – whether they are brought about by a pandemic or climate change. Canada’s response must support a more resilient, healthier economy that is competitive and shows economic strength in a decarbonized global market.

The future of the electric utility in Canada’s remote communities Regulatory and business model reforms could accelerate clean energy transition

Blog May 10, 2019- By Dylan Heerema

In Canada, both utilities and proponents of renewable electricity projects face many challenges when working together to transition remote communities to clean energy.

Remote communities meet renewable energy solutions Challenges and opportunities for hybrid microgrids

Blog Jan. 28, 2019- By Dave Lovekin, Dylan Heerema

There are many successful examples of renewable energy sources being integrated in remote communities to create hybrid microgrids — and the list continues to grow as projects demonstrate they reduce operating costs, carbon pollution, and reliance on imported diesel fuel.

The True Cost of Energy in Remote Communities Understanding diesel electricity generation terms and economics — 2nd edition

Publication March 6, 2019- By Dave Lovekin, Dylan Heerema

This backgrounder breaks down some common fuel cost terms that are important for conversations around transitioning remote communities away from diesel.

Diesel, renewables, and the future of Canada’s remote communities Introduction to microgrids

Blog Jan. 15, 2019- By Dave Lovekin, Dylan Heerema

Since remote communities are not connected to the North American electricity grid, they make use of their own small-scale microgrids.

More research and analysis

Interested in learning more? More research, analysis, and other publications can be found here


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