We have a serious energy problem in the Yukon.
Yukon Energy Corporation will be in front of the Yukon Utilities Board next week defending its proposal to switch from diesel to liquefied natural gas. Yukon Energy wants to invest $38 million in another fossil fuel when we need to reduce our fossil fuel dependency to avoid climate instability 20 years down the road.
The Yukon depends on fossil fuels for 80 per cent of our energy needs, including the transportation and space heating sectors. Wind and hydro only provide for 16 per cent.
We need to reduce our fossil fuel addiction by investing that $38 million in a smarter renewable energy grid. Investments in efficiency and conservation will ensure that we don’t have to turn on upgraded diesel generators unless it truly is an emergency backup situation.
The utilities board needs to hear from Yukon people that we want Yukon Energy, our crown utility, to invest in more renewable energy, not more fossil fuels.
Yukon Energy claims this is an urgent project, but this is a false and manufactured urgency. Our winter diesel peaking needs have dropped in the last three years and diesel makes up less than one per cent of the grid electricity generation.
Yukon Energy claims that the price of LNG will continue to stay much lower than diesel for the next 40 years. This is an impossible claim because world prices are four to five times higher than domestic prices.
Several proposed LNG export plants in B.C. and the questionable economics of shale gas reserves in Canada will cause LNG prices to go up, according to several experts.
Yukon Energy claims that LNG is cleaner than diesel but this is simply false. A growing body of research says modern methane extraction is exacerbating climate instability, polluting water, creating economic problems for other industries and ruining public infrastructures.
Yukon Energy claims there is no alternative to the LNG project, but it has not explored the advantages of building a smarter grid, deploying demand-side storage and integrating more wind and hydro power in the Yukon.
On May 13 and 14, Yukon Energy is partnering with others to hold a workshop titled “Electric Thermal Storage: Space Heating with Renewable Energy.” This workshop will bring in experts from across North America to discuss a smart grid solution for the Yukon. These leaders will show us how we can build a renewable energy future in the Yukon and drastically reduce our dependency on fossil fuel for electricity, heating our homes and even powering our cars.
The utilities board public hearing starts at the Whitehorse Westmark on March 31. You can register for the Monday night public session by this Friday, March 28 (email request to firstname.lastname@example.org). Please email the YUB to register to speak at the public session; you can also do a written submission.
Please tell the utilities board how you feel about this misguided project. Thank you for caring and acting for all future generations.