“It Comes Down to What They Value”: Understanding How Energy is Integrated Into Rural Manitoba Land Use Plans
Canada is committed to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. This requires Canada’s energy systems to transition from fossil fuels towards low emission sources. As this occurs, energy infrastructure will become a predominant land use, especially in rural areas. This poses a challenge for rural municipalities who need to adapt land use planning frameworks to renewable energy. Using a novel plan quality evaluation framework, 57 land use plans and 18 semi-structured interviews were used to assesses the state of energy planning and land use planning integration in rural Manitoba. Results highlight that integration of energy within official plans is poor. However, some communities are creating energy-inclusive plans. These changes are being driven by enthusiastic individuals, termed champions, who are advocates for local sustainability action. While improved funding and changes to provincial policy are needed to overcome capacity barriers, local leaders are critical for enabling rural energy planning.