World War as a Factor in Energy Transitions: The Case of Canadian Hydroelectricity


Of the many factors that shaped energy transitions in the twentieth century, the World Wars are rarely considered. Yet the dramatic effects of war mobilization on energy systems and the restructuring of supply lines through new geographies of military action and alliance suggest the importance of war as an external shock or crisis with the power to reshape the political economy of energy systems profoundly. Hydroelectricity in Canada during World War II provides one example of this process. The War consolidated and propelled a transition to hydroelectricity, yet the transition was not simple or linear.