I am an interdisciplinary researcher and practitioner who is passionate about translating research insights into policy and program design. I have a unique background as both a social scientist and an engineer and use a diverse set of methodologies from these fields in my research and practice. My interest and expertise follow the two trajectories of energy policy and environmental justice, which happily converge in my recent research work on energy poverty as well as my program design work developing programs for households who are left out of mainstream energy programming.
My PhD work, completed at the University of British Columbia and with funding support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the Peter Wall Solutions Initiative, UBC 4-year fellowship, MITACS Accelerate Internship and Westcoast Energy Inc. Jack Davis Scholarship in Energy Studies, was the first academic investigation of energy poverty in Canada.
I have spent most of my time, over the past few years, designing energy programs for Indigenous communities with Community Power and households that struggle with energy poverty with Empower Me. I have also been advising non-profits and municipal governments on policies and programs that address energy poverty, improve energy efficiency and promote inclusion in the green economy.
My consulting practice focuses on the following areas:
- Energy poverty alleviation
- Energy efficiency program design and evaluation
- Community energy planning
- Equity and inclusion considerations in environmental program design
- Community-based research
- Consultation and engagement
- Grant writing
Please get in touch for collaborations.
Characterizing Energy Poverty in Canada, 2017
My PhD work was the first academic study of energy poverty in Canada. Chapter 3 of my dissertation provides an overview of energy poverty statistic in the southern Canadian provinces and proposes a definition for quantifying energy poverty in the Canadian Context.
Home Energy Upgrades Program, Empower Me, 2018
I designed the Home Energy Upgrades program for Empower Me AB. This program provides free energy upgrades to Albertan households that struggle with energy poverty.
Electricity Load Forecast for Tsay Keh Dene Nation and BC Hydro, 2018
Tsay Keh Dene Nation is in the process of developing a community biomass energy project. I developed an electricity load forecast for the next 32 years to be used as part of the Electricity Purchase Agreement (EPA) negotiations between the Nation and BC Hydro.
Community Energy Management Plan for Tsay Keh Dene Nation, 2018
As part of this 5-year energy management plan for Tsay Keh Dene Nation, I provide a summary of current patterns of energy consumption in the community, facilitate discussion sessions with leadership and community member to develop an outline of community goals for their energy future, and develop an implementation plan for the realization of these goals through action on energy efficiency, renewable energy project development and community capacity development. The plan is updated annually for 5 years, to mark progress. This project is currently in its second year.
Community Energy Management Plan for Kwadacha Nation, 2018
As part of this 5-year energy management plan for Kwadacha Nation, I provide a summary of current patterns of energy consumption in the community, facilitate discussion sessions with leadership to develop an outline of community goals for their energy future, and develop an implementation plan for the realization of these goals through action on energy efficiency, renewable energy project development and community capacity development. The plan is updated annually for 5 years, to mark progress. This project is currently in its first year.
Energy Poverty and Equity Explorer, 2019
In my work with CUSP, I helped develop a mapping tool to help visualize rates of energy poverty, as well as other demographic and housing type indicators across Canada. I led the development of a knowledge mobilization hub for energy poverty in Canada, and wrote a backgrounder paper discussing general trends across the country.
- Rezaei, M. (2017). “How Canada can end energy poverty and winter cut-offs.” The Conversation.
- Rezaei, M. (2017). Power to the People: Thinking (and rethinking) energy poverty in British Columbia, Canada, PhD Dissertation, University of British Columbia, Vancouver.
- Rezaei, M. & Dowlatabadi, D. (2015). “Off-grid: Community energy and the pursuit of self-sufficiency in British Columbia’s remote and First Nations communities”. Local Environment.
- Dowlatabadi, D. & Rezaei, M. (2013). "Energy Demand, Efficiency and Conservation" in Robert G. Watts (Ed.) Engineering Response to Global Climate Change: Planning a Research and Development Agenda, Second Edition. Taylor and Francis.