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A Search for Sustainable Energy Future for the Northwest Territories: The Role of Policy Integration​​



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This study seeks to contribute to the knowledge about policy integration, and to investigate the capacity of consensus governments for integrated policymaking using the Northwest Territories renewable energy policy framework as a case study. The practical purpose is to contribute to the promotion of renewable energy by providing policy recommendations based on the study results. The specific research objectives are: 1) to test the Northwest Territories renewable energy policy against the criteria for policy integration, and identify the key factors behind the apparent success in introducing renewables to the overall energy portfolio, and 2) to explore how the consensus nature of the Northwest Territories government contributes to integrated policymaking. Policy process stages were examined to find out if the resulting policies met the criteria for policy integration, and if the type (style) of policymaking in the Northwest Territories supported integrated policymaking. Research methods included document analysis and semi-structured qualitative interviews. Research findings demonstrate that the Northwest Territories renewable energy policy framework satisfies the criteria for policy integration – comprehensiveness, aggregation, and consistency, and that consensus government has an increased capacity for integrated policymaking due to these factors: 1) greater policy stability than in a party-based system, which makes long-term policy solutions possible (important for issues requiring a long-term approach, e.g. renewable energy), and 2) better information exchange that contributes to policy comprehensiveness, consistency, and acceptance. Since policy solutions supported by the cabinet end up being upheld in most cases, a policy entrepreneur acting in a consensus government setting can facilitate the adoption of a specific policy through finding allies among cabinet members. Main recommendations include: 1) to the Government of the Northwest Territories – to introduce renewable portfolio standard for the mining industry and increase Aboriginal and community engagement in renewable energy projects, 2) to provincial and territorial governments – to emulate the mechanism of Energy Charrettes, 3) to the federal government – to ensure long-term financial support for renewable energy.



renewable energy, clean energy, policy integration, policy consistency, policy coherence, consensus government, policy entrepreneur, Northwest Territories, NWT, Canada



Master of Public Policy (M.P.P.)


Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy


Public Policy


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