Tap into alternative, clean energy sooner than later

Tap into alternative, clean energy sooner than later Open letter to Premier Darrell Pasloski, Thank you for your very inspiring comment to the Star last week (Oct. 26). You are showing Yukoners a great vision for the Yukon Territory. I was privileged to

Open letter to Premier Darrell Pasloski,

Thank you for your very inspiring comment to the Star last week (Oct. 26). You are showing Yukoners a great vision for the Yukon Territory.

I was privileged to be invited to speak at Canada’s North Summit as well. These are important forums for northerners.

As you mentioned in your comment, we Yukoners enjoy the outdoors and we care about our first-class health care. I’ll add that the primary contributor to our first-class health care is living in a pristine environment free of pollution.

Are you aware that our increasing rates of fossil fuel consumption have put us on track to reach critical temperature levels in the next two to three decades? This means that we must act now to curb emissions.

I applaud you for your vision to focus on expanding clean power. A new hydro project is a great idea, but it will take 10 to 15 years to develop. In the meantime there are other measures we can pursue to accelerate clean power development in the territory.

Presently 80 per cent of our energy in the Yukon comes from fossil fuel. In that portion 60 per cent is diesel and gasoline for transportation and 20 per cent is heating oil and propane for space heating. I suggest that we target space heating first. Let’s replace heating oil and propane with renewable energy.

The fastest way we can do this is by deploying an old technology called electrical thermal storage, or ETS. To put it simply, the ETS is just an electric furnace with a heat storage capacity of a day or longer. The ETS technology is available for any size of building.

The next step is to build a smart grid which will allow Yukon Energy to maximize the use of renewable energy sources like hydro, wind and solar by storing them into ETS units as well as hot water tanks located in homes and commercial buildings.

As we build up the space heating demand we will realize the opportunity to build new wind farms in small steps to meet the new space heating load. The mountaintop wind farms produce more energy in the winter when space heating demand is greatest. In other words, the wind follows the heating load.

This is the short term plan for a long term goal: renewable energy self-reliance.

The next step will include bringing in new hydro, market-ready energy storage technologies, and electric vehicles. Yukoners have the opportunity to become leaders in this new renewable energy economy.

As you duly noted: “Our ultimate goal is for Yukon to become a net contributor to Canada.” So let’s get on with it.

JP Pinard, PEng, PhD

Whitehorse