Chad Walker

Assistant Professor

Fax: 902-423-6672
Mailing Address: 
5217 Morris St., P.O. Box 15000, Halifax, NS, Canada B3H 4R2
Research Topics:
  • low-carbon energy transitions
  • Indigenous-led renewable energy
  • community/local energy
  • energy justice
  • environmental policy and planning


  • PhD 2017, Geography, Western University
  • MA 2012, Geography, Western University
  • BA 2010, Environmental Policy and Analysis, Bowling Green State University

Current Teaching

  • PLAN 4050: Thesis Proposal
  • PLAN 4035: Application of Planning Law

Research and Teaching Interests

Chad (he/him) is an interdisciplinary environmental social scientist with interests around justice, equity, and public support for low-carbon transitions. Recent published research includes studying the impact of environmental justice in shaping support for wind energy, critically investigating the meaning of community and local energy, and using diverse methodologies to better understand reconciliation, autonomy, and pathways for improved health via Indigenous-led renewable energy development. 

After earning his PhD from Western University, Chad worked as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Queen’s University (2017–2019), the University of Exeter (2019–2021), the University of Saskatchewan (2021), and the University of Waterloo (2022). At Queen's he worked with Dr. Heather Castleden on the CIHR-funded Achieving Strength, Health and Autonomy, through Renewable Energy Development for the Future (A SHARED Future) program. In Saskatchewan, he was part of the SSHRC-funded Community Appropriate Sustainable Energy Security (CASES) initiative with Dr. Greg Poelzer and Dr. Bram Noble. During his time in the United Kingdom, he worked with Dr. Patrick Devine-Wright, studying user engagement and public participation through the development of Smart Local Energy Systems. At Waterloo, Chad was awarded an AMTD Global Talent Fellowship to work with Dr. Ian Rowlands and study issues of justice and equity through the development of Smart Grid projects in Canada.

Through all of this work, he has used a combination of qualitative and quantitative approaches, spurring a keen interest in the ways we think about and practice mixed methods.

Selected Publications

  • Walker, C., Ryder, S., Roux, J.P., Devine-Wright, P., and Chateau, Z. (2022). Threats to energy democratization: Examining the structure of decision-making processes and new spheres of procedural (in)justice in energy transitions. Democratizing Energy: Imaginaries, Transitions, Risks. Elsevier.
  • Soutar, I., Devine-Wright, P., Rohse, M., Walker, C., Gooding, L., Devine-Wright, H., and Kay, I. (2022). Constructing practices of engagement with users and communities: comparing emergent state-led Smart Local Energy Systems. Energy Policy.
  • Walker, C., Poelzer, G., Leonhardt, R., Noble, B., and Hoicka, C. (2022). COPs and ‘Robbers?’ Better understanding Community Energy and towards a Communities of Place then Interest approach. Energy Research & Social Science 92, 102797.
  • Walker, C., Devine-Wright, P., Rohse, M., Gooding, L., Devine-Wright, H., and Gupta, R. (2021). What is ‘local’ about Smart Local Energy Systems? Emerging stakeholder geographies of decentralised energy in the United Kingdom. Energy Research & Social Science 80, 102182.
  • Walker, C., Doucette, M.B., Rotz, S., Lewis, D., Tait Neufeld, H., and Castleden, H. (2021). Non-Indigenous partner perspectives on Indigenous peoples’ involvement in renewable energy: Exploring reconciliation as relationships of accountability or status quo innocence?. Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management.

Selected Honours, Awards, and Grants

  • 2022–23: Exploring local engagement and participatory place branding through the rollout of Local Smart Grids in cities within the UK and Canada (British Academy/Canadian Institute for Advanced Research Seed Grant, Lead Applicant; £5,000). 
  • 2022–23: Off-grid renewable energy for (re)defining energy access and use in urban settings (British Academy/Canadian Institute for Advanced Research Seed Grant, Co-Applicant; £5,000).
  • 2022–25: The net-zero energy transition in Canadian community planning: Creating a 'Planning for Energy' framework (SSHRC Insight Grant, Co-applicant; $261,000 – proposal under review)
  • 2022–24: AMTD Global Talent Postdoctoral Research Fellowship ($165,000+)
  • 2022: Understanding tensions and synergies between scalability and positive local outcomes in SLES (EnergyREV Flex Fund Research Grant, Co-applicant; £5,000)