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More power to the people in 2030, engineering researcher predicts

Entire communities will be able to generate their own energy and will do so in the not-so-distant future with a much greater reliance on such renewable sources as wind, solar and biomass, according to Rupp Carriveau.

“This is really about more power to the people,” said the University of Windsor engineering professor. “Communities will be looking after themselves and they’ll be relying on micro-grids that will be like islands of generation.”

Dr. Carriveau is just one of three Ontario university researchers who will make their predictions about what life will be like in the province by 2030 when they take part in a panel discussion on the subject on April 16 at the Trius Winery at Hillebrand in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

The discussion is being hosted by the organizers of Research Matters, a promotional campaign launched last year by the Council of Ontario Universities as a way of demonstrating to the general public the important contributions to our quality of life made every day by university researchers. Each university was asked to nominate a research representative, and Carriveau is the face of the campaign at UWindsor.

Carriveau’s presentation at the event will focus on how communities can become more sustainable by generating their own energy to power light industries, homes, stores, schools, hospitals and offices. People will be more engaged with their suppliers and will have greater say over determining the sources of their energy, he predicts.

“I see things becoming a lot more distributed,” he said, “in the way that the traditional, centralized power distribution that we’re all used to will slowly change to a point where it’s recognizably common, in 2030, to see new communities sprouting up with their own micro-grids.”

Similar discussions to the April 16 event in Niagara have already been held in Oshawa, Sudbury and Kitchener-Waterloo. Podcasts from some of those events can be found on the Research Matters website.

Watch a video of Dr. Carriveau explaining his predictions.