Keyte, Lawrence

Profile photo_Lawrence Keyte

Name: Lawrence Keyte
Position: Former MA Student (Sustainability Studies, Trent University)
Research Project: Energy Resilience in Northern Communities (MA Thesis – completed)
Academic background: MA in Sustainability Studies (Trent University); BEd (Queen’s University); BSc Honours (Queen’s University)
Contact information: lawrence.keyte@polar.gc.ca

About the researcher:
I came to Trent University as a renewable energy consultant, with a keen interest in bringing together my experience working with northern Indigenous communities, with my belief in the social, economic and environmental benefits of sustainable energy planning and provision.

As such, my Master’s thesis in the Sustainability Studies Program focused on success factors for northern Indigenous communities moving from fossil fuel dependence into more local, autonomous, clean and resilient energy futures.

My research project was situated in Fort McPherson, NWT, in the Gwich’in Settlement Region where I conducted interviews with community members involved with sustainable energy planning and coordination. The village had recently installed two wood chip boilers to provide district heating, and is developing a sustainable wood chipping industry to feed the boilers using local willow. This has potential to provide employment, build social capacity and resilience, lower reliance upon fossil fuel, reduce energy costs and help keep money spent on energy in the community. Jurisdictional context was provided by interviews with professionals in Yellowknife involved in sustainable energy research, planning, coordination and policy.

I was fortunate to be co-supervised by Dr. Chris Furgal of the Indigenous Environmental Studies Program at Trent University, and head of the Health, Environment and Indigenous Communities Research Group, and Dr. Stephen Hill of the Environmental and Resource Studies Department at Trent University, whose expertise lies in renewable energy policy and understanding policies and actions for prevention of climate change.

Upon completion of my Master’s degree I worked with University of Ottawa’s Collaboratory for Energy Research and Policy, where I focused on Indigenous involvement in energy planning and development, and with the Carleton Sustainable Energy Research Centre, where he co-authored an interdisciplinary report titled “Report on the State of Alternative Energy in the Arctic”. The report explores renewable energy and policy development opportunities for Canada’s northern communities.

I now work as a northern alternative energy specialist with Polar Knowledge Canada (POLAR). I work with northern Canadian communities to facilitate sustainable energy project development, mobilize energy knowledge, increase local capacity through clean energy initiatives, and select appropriate renewable energy technologies for testing and implementation in northern settings. I also work with Indigenous communities, governments and industry to identify priorities, challenges and success factors behind northern clean energy and energy conservation initiatives.

I am particularly interested in the link between community involvement and successful implementation of clean energy projects and policy. Having worked in various capacities for almost two decades with northern communities, I believe in energy projects which are embraced by residents, enhance local capacity, keep energy dollars local and bring long-term benefit to northern and Indigenous communities.