Brent Kopperson

Ashoka Fellow
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Fellow Since 2010


This profile was prepared when Brent Kopperson was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2010.
The New Idea
Brent uses a combination of community engagement and policy change to enable citizens and communities to become conservers and generators of electrical generation installations, moving toward renewable energy investment. By transforming the electricity system into one where everyone can be a producer, Brent is helping to put electricity systems back into the hands of individual consumers, communities, and small-scale entrepreneurs at the lowest possible cost. He is implementing a model of Community Power by reducing dependence on fossil fuels and nuclear energy, preventing climate change, creating local jobs, encouraging entrepreneurial spirit, and economic opportunities.

Brent is working on multiple fronts to lay the groundwork for a transformed electricity system in Ontario. He is creating outreach programs and educational tools while removing structural barriers to policy change. In addition, Brent’s initiative catalyzes broad-reaching coalitions. He is working directly with Aboriginal communities, rural and urban cooperatives, farmers, and individual homeowners to implement small-scale electrical generation projects and instil a sense of collective grassroots power. Brent piloted his project in Aboriginal communities where he saw the greatest need, but also openness to this approach. He used the experience as a proof of concept and has replicated the approach to other rural and urban settings in Ontario.

Brent and the communities and organizations he works with are building community-managed windfarms and solar energy systems. He is creating a new movement where “green energy consumers-producers” are leading the sustainable development movement by investing in renewable energy systems in Canada. To ensure these groups continue to have incentives—economic, social, and environmental—Brent is also changing the infrastructure within which the energy sector operates. He has played an instrumental role in introducing the first Green Energy Act in Ontario, which is now setting the tone for other green energy legislation in provinces across Canada. He is democratizing energy production and making green energy accessible and widely distributed.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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