December 15, 2023
By Morgan Lievers, BRWA Environmental Program Coordinator

Denise Hawkins started Camrose Energy with her husband, Russell, with the goal of providing customers with affordable and local energy options. Camrose Energy values their strong connection to their customers and community by giving back and giving donations to organizations chosen by customers. The Battle River Watershed Alliance has been able to be a part of this Community Partner Program for many years. 

1. State your name, the name of your business, and how long you have been in business?

Denise Hawkins, Camrose Energy. We are moving into our 11th year of business. We are a retailer of electricity and natural gas.

2. Connecting people to place – looking at the map of subwatersheds in the Battle River and Sounding Creek, can you highlight the general range of your business?

Camrose Energy can provide electricity to both watersheds, in addition to all of Alberta. We can provide natural gas to anyone that is not connected to a gas co-op.

3. What is one of your personal favourite places in the watershed?

I feel so lucky to be a resident of Camrose. My trip to work every day includes passing our amazing trail system. It brings such a feeling of peace, feeling like you are in the country but in fact you are in Camrose.

Whether it is biking or walking, we love our trail system. We do take breaks on the benches and just take in the view. Over by the ski club they have so many native plants. During summer walks we will take in pollinator TV, as the various types of bees land on these plants. We have little people in our lives and the natural playground at the ski club is also a favourite stop.

4. How does your business support stewardship in the watershed?

Camrose Energy has our Community Partner Program. This is where 10% of our profits goes to various organizations. Our customers are able to select who they want that 10% profit from their home, based on which organization resonates with them. We are thankful that BRWA has been one of our initial Community Partners and still are part of our program. For 2024 they will be one of our four highlights listed for when customers call in.

Camrose Energy has been a sponsor of the EcoSolar home tour for years. Last year we partnered with local partners for Camrose’s own Solar Home Tour. The purpose of this is to raise awareness and education about solar, EVs, heat pumps, permaculture, water conservation, planting for pollinators and other environmental initiatives.

5. Does your business include measures that support environmental sustainability through a circular economy?

Our Solar Club was designed to reduce the payback time in the cost of solar systems. This reduced payback time is to help encourage more solar on rooftops. Not only is there a financial reduction in utility bills, reduction in carbon footprint, increase in sustainable energy, with water conservation, with no tailing ponds required.

6. What prompted you or inspired you to go into this business?

Camrose Energy celebrated its 10 year anniversary this year. This is an example of being in the right place at the right time. We had moved into a new home just over 11 years ago. We discussed putting solar on our home. My husband attended a solar install course and this opportunity was mentioned. Within a week we were meeting with Utility Net and Partners about becoming a Community Retailer.

7. Since founding the company, what have been some positive/noticeable changes?

Over the past couple years, we have seen amazing growth and acceptance toward solar becoming mainstream. In October solar in Alberta grew 3.5% in that month alone. Electric vehicles and the charging system to support them has increased.

8. Do you have a new year’s message or greeting you would like to share to our readership made up of BRWA members and partners?

We wish happiness and connection to all.

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