Current Research Projects:
ENergy Citizens for inclusive DEcarbonisation (ENCLUDE)
2021-2024, ETH Zurich, University of Piraeus, TU Delft, University College Cork, University of Glasgow, University of Victoria, Utrecht University, Joanneum Research, Th!nk E, Eko-svest, Green Partners, Missions Publiques, Holistic P.C.Energy Citizens for Inclusive Decarbonisation (ENCLUDE), Horizon 2020 LC-SC3-CC-1-2018-2019-2020 Call on “Building a Low-Carbon, Climate Resilient Future: Secure, Clean and Efficient Energy”, $2,882,057.49 EUR
2021-2024, Hoicka, C.E. (PI), ENCLUDE, New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF) Global, $375,000
This project addresses the need to better define, contextualize and integrate energy citizenship into decision making processes by acknowledging and including different types of knowledge (e.g., scientific and experiential) from diverse groups in order to co-produce strategies for mobilizing and scaling up energy citizenship initiatives for inclusive energy transitions. Through the implementation of a mixed-method and transdisciplinary research framework, ENCLUDE aims to rethink and redesign engagement processes between government, business, civil society organizations and citizens for a decarbonized future for and by all.
Motivated by achieving an equitable and sustainable future and the fulfillment of individual potential, ENCLUDE will contribute to the upcoming transformation of energy use by: 1) Assembling, aligning and adapting disparate energy citizenship concepts for diverse communities of citizens and for different scales of policy making, lowering the barrier for action, 2) Operationalizing the energy citizenship concept at all scales of policy making for decarbonization, and 3) Catalyzing a chain reaction of decarbonization actions across the EU.
The geography of diffusion of disruptive clusters of low-carbon and renewable energy innovations
2021-2025, Hoicka, C.E. (PI), collaborators: Berube, A., Brisbois, MC, Castleden, H., Das, R., Graziano, M., Lewis, D., Lieu, J., MacArthur, J. Ramirez-Camargo, L, “Do disruptive renewable energy innovations in local contexts accelerate a just and democratic energy Transition?” Social Science and Humanities Research Council Insight Grant, $241, 052
Addressing climate change requires a rapid transition to renewable energy sources (RE). Depending on how a RE transition occurs, it can either address or exacerbate inequalities as they occur in local contexts. This transition is not simply about technological change, it is about societal transformation and the scale-up of innovations that disrupt the established ‘socio-technical’ system. Socio-technical systems are complex, multi-scalar systems that are resistant to change. These can be energy systems, transportation systems, or food systems. However, climate change is not the only societal challenge and an energy transition is not the only system transformation that RE can address.
Social science research is required to advance our knowledge of how to address inequalities and encourage widespread participation while advancing a RE transition to avoid climate disruption.
This proposed research seeks to:
- identify and analyze disruptive RE projects that are being planned and implemented in communities applying the concepts of RE clusters and RE transitions;
- understand their potential to be societally transformative and the associated factors;
- translate and communicate this knowledge to the communities.
This proposal addresses the research questions “Do innovation systems and local contexts interact to support disruptive social-technical innovations? What are the critical factors to consider? Do disruptive socio-technological innovations in local contexts accelerate just and sustainable energy transformation?”. The proposed research will investigate the transformative potential of RE using the conceptual frameworks of energy democracy, energy justice, and innovation systems. Disruptive innovations are only beginning to be connected to their role in energy justice and energy democracy. This research will provide an important contribution to this gap in knowledge by providing more clarity around how disruptive innovations can contribute to just and democratic renewable energy transitions.
2021-2026, Hoicka, C.E. (PI) Identifying the consequential risks, benefits, and socio-technical strategies of diffusion of innovations in a low-carbon energy transition. Ontario Early Researcher Award ER19-15-298, 2021-2026, $150,000.
An energy transition is underway in Ontario, and in other provinces in Canada. The emergence of ‘smart grids’ — digitally enabled electricity infrastructure — and flexible technologies on the distribution grid are entering energy markets and systems globally and changing relationships between consumers and producers of energy. There are many benefits to the widespread adoption of these low-carbon innovations and an energy transition, such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions and economic and industrial policy goals of market creation and new business lines, and improved quality of life in Ontario. However, there are also negative consequences, such as rising costs or localized reduction of reliable energy. This research takes both a technical and social science lens to understand the risks and benefits of the widespread adoption of these low-carbon innovations, and will provide analysis on how to track innovations risks, benefits, and design interventions to increase the benefits and mitigate risks.
2021, Hoicka, C.E., Graziano, M., Zhao, Y. Comparing and combining regional and sustainability transitions approaches to analyze the emergence of clusters of renewable and low-carbon innovations, Smart Prosperity Institute, $10,000.
Canada’s new climate action report outlines details for the electrification of transportation and transport corridors, massive expansion of a clean electricity system, $964 million over four years to “advance smart renewable energy and grid modernization projects to enable the clean grid of the future”, and commitment to the economy, equity, inclusion, communities, and the workforce. One important pathway to these goals is implementing clusters of renewable and low-carbon innovations, also called renewable energies industrial clusters, that can dramatically speed up the transition towards renewable energies.
The objective of this project is to connect the fields of sustainability transitions, energy geography, and regional sciences, in order to answer real world policy questions of “how do renewable energies industrial clusters emerge, in what form, and how do they impact the renewable energy transition in different types of locations?” The analytical framework will identify important concepts and influences, will identify the range of factors that affect the emergence and form of renewable energies industrial clusters spatially that inform policy decisions, advance each field, and inform future analyses about renewable energy transitions. This analysis will provide practical insights into a resilient recovery and the equitable and inclusive aspects of a transition to a clean, low carbon economy; and help inform the selection, prioritization and financing of clean innovation strategies across sectors, sector specific pathways, and distributional impacts of existing or proposed low carbon and/or resilient recovery policies and programs.
Equity, diversity and inclusion in the net zero carbon economy
2021, Hoicka, CE, funding provided by the McConnell Foundation.
Public perceptions of low-carbon energy transitions
2020, Das, R (PI), Hoicka, CE (co-applicant), Carlson, R, Energy Exchange and Pollution Probe, “Public perceptions of low-carbon energy transitions” SSHRC Partnership Engage Grant. $24,984.
Transition to 100% Renewable Energy Cities
2020, Hoicka, CE, Advancing a just and democratic renewable energy transition in Canada. DIGHR Seed Grant in Critical Perspectives in Global Health. Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research (DIGHR), York University, $5,000.
Transitioning to renewable energy is understood as an effective strategy to stay within 1.5°C average global temperature rise (IEA, 2017). Cities occupy two percent of the world’s landmass in size, consume over two-thirds of the world’s energy demand, and account for over 70% of global carbon dioxide emissions (C40 Cities, 2019a). Technologically, it can be difficult to transition to a significant share of renewable energy in cities. Energy demand is expected to grow, particularly in urban centers and renewable energy power generation requires more land compared to traditional, centralized thermal generation (Hoicka & MacArthur, 2019). This study investigates the status of renewable energy transitions in urban cities, and how to achieve 100% renewable energy in urban cities. The study documents urban cities currently achieving or planning to achieve 100% renewable energy, each city’s current stage of the local energy planning process, and investigates the proposed solutions in city plans including policy instruments, technological and innovative solutions and stakeholders involved to achieve 100% renewable energy urban cities.
Diffusion of Multiple Demand-Side Low-Carbon Innovations in a 1.5C Energy Transition
This research has been funded by a SSHRC Insight Development Grant (2016-2019), internal funds from the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University (2020), funds from the PowerStream Chair (held 2013-2017), the Smart Prosperity Institute (2020) and the Energy Modelling Initiative. This research was carried out by Dr. Christina Hoicka (PI), Dr. Runa Das (Royal Roads University), Dr. Jenny Lieu (TU Delft), Maria-Louise McMaster (MES 2020), Yuxu Zhao (MES 2020). Previous project contributors include Dr. Travis Gliedt (University of Oklahoma), Sohrab Pathan (MES 2018), Scott Harbinson (MES 2018), Alicia Campney (MES/JD 2019), and Susan Wyse (MES 2018).
2021, Hoicka, C.E (PI), Das, R, “Modeling the System Impact of Multiple Demand-Side Low-Carbon Innovations in a 1.5C Energy Transition” Energy Modelling Initiative, $15,000.
2020, Hoicka, C.E (PI), Das, R ‘Diffusion of Multiple Demand-Side Low-Carbon Innovations in a 1.5C Energy Transition’ Economics and Environmental Policy Research Network (EEPRN), Smart Prosperity Institute, $10,000
2016-2019, Hoicka, C.E. (PI) and Gliedt, T. “Sustainable Energy Transitions: Linking Pro-environmental Behaviour to System Innovation”,Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Insight Development Grant $72,999.
The rapid diffusion of low-carbon innovations has been identified as a key strategy for maintaining average global temperature rise at or below 1.5°C. According to large-scale modelling studies, efficient demand-side technological innovations contribute more to emission reductions than energy supply-side technological innovations. Therefore, efforts should focus on developing the full potential of demand-side technological innovations and facilitating their diffusion. Although systems of multiple innovations are important for an energy transition, innovation diffusion frameworks tend to focus on singular innovations, and on hardware rather than on configurations and optimization. There are many studies on the diffusion of singular low-carbon or eco-innovations. There are few that simultaneously investigate the diffusion of multiple innovations. This research will attempt to answer the following questions: what are the range and combination of factors that influence low-carbon innovation diffusion to energy users? How, and to what extent, do these low-carbon innovations contribute to system change and sustainable energy transitions? It will answer these questions by developing a statistical model to analyze the factors that influence the diffusion of demand-side, low-carbon innovations to energy users and their potential contribution to energy system transitions. This has been applied by identifying over 100 low-carbon demand-side innovations that have the potential to make an important contribution to a low-carbon energy transition in the Canadian province of Ontario. A model was developed with four dependent variables: dissemination rate; system innovation; pro-environmental behaviours; and energy justice. This research will help to better understand the mechanisms through which low-carbon innovation diffusion can be accelerated for a successful transition to sustainable energy systems. This investigation aligns with global greenhouse gas abatement targets within a 1.5°C scenario, and can inform innovation and environmental policy on the key factors that influence the scaling of niche low-carbon innovations to achieve widespread diffusion and adoption.
Post COVID19 Indigenous Economic Recovery: Reconciliation in the Energy Transition
This research project is funded by the Smart Prosperity Institute. The research was carried out by Katarina Savic (MES 2020). This research was conducted in partnership with the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business.
2020, Hoicka, CE (PI), “Post COVID19 Indigenous Economic Recovery: Reconciliation in the Energy Transition” Economics and Environmental Policy Research Network (EEPRN), Smart Prosperity Institute, $5,000.
Indigenous communities in Canada are significantly more burdened by the impacts of COVID-19 and the climate crisis than the non-Indigenous population. This study seeks to examine the experience and role of Indigenous economic development corporations in renewable energy development. Results of this study will provide insights on how to address equity impacts of green stimulus packages and provide guidance on policies for greater ownership and control of renewable energy projects for Indigenous communities. This project provides a unique look at the efficacy/effectiveness of different governance mechanisms for targeting and reaching affected sectors/demographics, specifically Indigenous communities, with past stimulus measures. Thus, the findings of this work will address the equity impacts of potential green stimulus packages.
Hoicka, C. E., Lowitzsch, J., Brisbois, M.C., Kumar, A., Ramirez Camargo, L., (2021) “Implementing a just renewable energy transition: Policy advice for transposing the new European rules for renewable energy communities.” Energy Policy. (156) 112435 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2021.112435
Zhao, Y., Hoicka, C.E., McMaster, M.-L.Das, R.R., (2021). Modelling demand-side low-carbon innovations and their potential to impact on socio-technical energy systems. Report to the Energy Modelling Initiative https://emi-ime.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/EMI-2020-Hoicka_report_Modeling-demand-side-low-carbon-innovation.pdf
Hoicka, C. E., Das, R.R., Zhao, Y., McMaster, M.-L. Lieu, J., and Wyse, S. (2021). “Methodology to Identify Demand-Side Low-Carbon Innovations and Their Potential Impact on Socio-Technical Energy Systems.” MethodsX. (8) https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mex.2021.101295
See our presentation at the International Sustainability Transitions conference 2020.
Hoicka, C.E., Savic, K., Campney, A. (2021). “Reconciliation through renewable energy? A survey of Indigenous communities, involvement, and peoples in Canada” Energy Research & Social Science. 74, 101897. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.erss.2020.101897
A previous draft of this research was cited in Canada’s Net Zero Future by the Canadian Institute for Climate Choices
Hoicka, C.E., Das, R.R., McMaster, M.L., Zhao, Y, Wyse, S., Lieu, J. (2021). “Diffusion of Multiple Demand-Side Low-Carbon Innovations in a 1.5°C Energy Transition”. Smart Prosperity Institute Working Paper. Available at: https://institute.smartprosperity.ca/publications/low-carbon-innovations
Savic, K., Hoicka, C.E. (2021). “Reconciliation and self-determination through renewable energy? The perspective of economic development corporations of grid-connected First Nations communities” Report prepared for Smart Prosperity Institute (SPI). Available at: https://institute.smartprosperity.ca/publications/renewable-energy
Hoicka, CE, Das, R. (2021) Viewpoint: Ambitious deep energy retrofits of buildings to accelerate the 1.5C energy transition in Canada. The Canadian Geographer. 65(1): 116–127. https://doi.org/10.1111/cag.12637
Conroy, J., Hoicka, C.E. (2020). “Planning 100% Renewable Energy Urban Cities, Global Status and Solutions” Report prepared for Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research (DIGHR). Available at: https://www.yorku.ca/dighr/resource/planning-renewable-energy-urban-cities/
Hoicka, C. E., Lowitzsch, J., Brisbois, M. C., Kumar, A., Ramirez Camargo (2020). “Implementing a just renewable energy transition: policy advice for transposing the new European rules for Renewable Energy Communities”. Available at SSRN: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3729512
MacArthur, J, Hoicka, CE, Castleden, H. Das, R. Lieu, J. (2020). Perspective: Forging Canada’s Green New Deal: The Socio-political Foundations of Climate Resilient Infrastructure? Energy research and social science. 65. 101442 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.erss.2020.101442
Lowitzsch J, Hoicka CE, van Tulder F. (2020). “Renewable Energy Communities under the 2019 European Clean Energy Package – Governance Model for the Energy Clusters of the Future?” Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 122, 109489, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rser.2019.109489
Wyse, S. M., and C. E. Hoicka. (2019). ‘By and For Local People’: Assessing the connection between Local Energy Plans and Community Energy. Local Environment 24(9). Taylor & Francis: 883–900. https://doi.org/10.1080/13549839.2019.1652802
Hoicka, C. E., & MacArthur, J. L. (2019). The Infrastructure for Electricity: A Technical Overview In K. Hancock & J. Allison (Eds.), Oxford Handbook of Energy Politics. Oxford University Press.
Hoicka, C. E., & MacArthur, J. L. (2018). From Tip to Toes: Mapping Community Energy Models in Canada and New Zealand. Energy Policy, 121, 162–174. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2018.06.002
Hoicka, C. E., & Parker, P. (2018). Assessing the adoption of the house as a system approach to residential energy efficiency programs. Energy Efficiency, 11(2), 295–313. http://doi.org/10.1007/s12053-017-9564-x
Gliedt, T., Hoicka, C. E., & Jackson, N. (2018). Innovation intermediaries accelerating environmental sustainability transitions. Journal of Cleaner Production, 174(10), 1247–1261. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2017.11.054
Gliedt, T., & Hoicka, C. E. (2015). Energy upgrades as financial or strategic investment? Energy Star property owners and managers improving building energy performance. Applied Energy, 147, 430–443. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.apenergy.2015.02.028
Hoicka, C. E., Parker, P., & Andrey, J. (2014). Residential energy efficiency retrofits: How program design affects participation and outcomes. Energy Policy, 65, 594–607. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2013.10.053
Hoicka, C. E., & Rowlands, I. H. (2011). Solar and wind resource complementarity: Advancing options for renewable electricity integration in Ontario, Canada. Renewable Energy, 36(1), 97–107. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.renene.2010.06.004
Hoicka, C. E., & Parker, P. (2011). Residential energy efficiency programs, retrofit choices and greenhouse gas emissions savings: a decade of energy efficiency improvements in Waterloo Region, Canada. International Journal of Energy Research, 35, 1312–1324. https://doi.org/10.1002/er.1860