Navigating the Path to Renewable Energy

March 04, 2020

Written by Teghan Acres

Nastaran Arianpoo is a Willow Grove Research Associate at the Pacific Water Research Centre. After obtaining an undergraduate degree in her home country Iran, she pursued a Masters at the University of British Columbia working on renewable energy at the Mining Engineering department. Arianpoo focused on geothermal energy development and the opportunities this energy source has for generating electricity. Her education did not stop there, and she continued on to earn a Ph.D. in the sustainable development of renewable energy projects.

Her research is now focused on energy transition pathways. Arianpoo studies the intersection of renewable energy projects with social and environmental impacts through two main projects. She addresses energy pathways at a global and national scale as well as the community scale in British Columbia.

From a global and national lens, Arianpoo is looking at exploring and expanding the interdisciplinary and intersectoral capabilities of energy system modelling approaches. She believes that the interaction of the energy system with the other human and natural systems (such as land, food, water, human wellbeing, and natural security) should be explored in the larger adaptation and mitigation policy context if our economy wants truly move toward a low-carbon future. Water is a constant through her work as climate change manifests itself mainly through its effects on the local and global water cycle. She brings her experience as an engineer to this project to bridge the gap between the policymakers and on-the-ground engineers working to implement climate solutions.

At the local level, she is part of a team, the Clean Energy Research Group (CERG), focused on assessing off-grid or end-of-the-line remote communities to gain the benefits of moving towards clean energy sources. The Clean Energy Research Group is an interdisciplinary team of professionals from industry and academia with backgrounds in engineering and social sciences equipped to evaluate the technical, financial, and governance aspects of clean energy projects. Their work will be to assist in the evolution from a reliance on fossil fuels to renewable energy options. This project is still in the beginning stages and plans to begin work in communities soon.

Arianpoo understands the intersection of climate change, water and sustainable development. All of her work looks at the intersection of these factors and building a holistic outlook for energy projects. If you are interested in learning more about these projects or getting involved, you can reach out at

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We respectfully acknowledge that the PWRC operates on the unceded traditional territories of the Coast Salish peoples of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.