Power production policy may promote fossil fuels, not renewable energy

Power production policy may promote fossil fuels, not renewable energy Yukon government is accepting comments on its draft independent power production (IPP) policy until Aug. 29. An independent power production policy is an opportunity to encourage com

Yukon government is accepting comments on its draft independent power production (IPP) policy until Aug. 29.

An independent power production policy is an opportunity to encourage communities, First Nations and businesses to produce renewable energy for the Yukon’s electrical grid and for isolated diesel communities.

However, the draft policy provides no incentives for independent power producers to develop electricity from clean, renewable sources. Instead, it encourages the development of a Yukon fossil fuel industry by making natural gas an eligible energy source for independent power producers to sell to the Yukon electrical grid and to isolated off grid communities. The policy explicitly calls for “the replacement of imported diesel fuel with Yukon’s oil and gas resources.”

Greenhouse gas emissions from natural gas are at least as intensive as from diesel. And since most of the Yukon’s gas is in shale formations, the draft policy indirectly opens the door to fracking in the territory.

The draft IPP policy would commit us to purchasing natural gas generated electricity from sources like large mines with surplus LNG electrical generation capacity, allowing dirty electricity to displace existing renewable energy on our grid, and blocking potential future renewable energy projects. This would not create energy security or a sustainable energy future, but a dangerous dependence on a finite resource that is destabilizing the climate and destroying water resources and habitat.

The draft IPP policy highlights the contradictions in the 2009 Energy Strategy for Yukon, which includes positive aspects promoting energy efficiency, conservation and renewable energy, but also blatant promotion of oil and gas development and consumption that negates everything good in the document.

The Select Committee Regarding the Risks and Benefits of Hydraulic Fracturing is still deliberating whether fracking should be allowed in the Yukon. From the Yukon Conservation Society’s participation in that process, learning from experts and hearing from people in Yukon communities, we are confident that the only sensible recommendation by the committee to government is that fracking should not be allowed here.

But that is not reflected in this IPP policy, which clearly is designed to increase markets for fossil fuels in our electrical system which would justify fracking in the Yukon.

You have an opportunity to tell government that independent power production should only be generated by, and purchased from, renewable energy sources.

Please make your voice heard.

For more information on the draft policy and how to submit comments, visit www.energy.gov.yk.ca.

To read YCS’ comments on the draft IPP policy, visit: www.yukonconservation.org.

Anne Middler

Yukon Conservation Society Energy Analyst

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