What sould readers take away from Yukon Energy’s natural gas plans?
At the recent World Economic Forum, the former U.S. vice president Al Gore reported that within six years, 80 per cent of the world’s population will live in regions where solar power costs will be equal to or less than existing energy grids.
He also noted that solar and wind power generation have long been seen as clean sustainable energy technologies which draw upon the planet’s most plentiful and widely distributed renewable energy sources – the sun and the wind.
Yukon Energy ignored the reality of climate change actions already underway in the rest of the world and that their plans will be a contributing factor to Canada’s shameful environmental record.
The YESAB process also ignored the fact that environmental protection is inherently a cross-border issue although project cumulative impacts are now widely included in environmental assessment processes.
It is clear that Yukon Energy had already begun to take steps to proceed with the LNG project well before the official YESAB decision, and the government’s formal approval.
It seemed the fix was in from the beginning and that the entire YESAB process was just an expensive and time consuming formality… and a sham!
Recent events in the Yukon suggest public engagement has matured to a point where it is possible to envisage adaptive, evolutionary shifts in our social, economic, environmental, and energy management systems.
The public, and particularly the First Nations, have demonstrated their growing capacity to become effectively engaged in recent development projects such as the Peel River and watershed and even social enterprises such as the new high school and community hospitals.
A single example, Germany, can illustrate what can happen when citizens and governments agree that it’s worth investing in clean, carbon-free power – a policy that many Yukon citizens have been advocating for years.
Despite being a country with average solar irradiation levels – worse than Alaska – Germany has become the world’s solar leader, with solar power recently providing up to fifty per cent of the country’s daily total electricity demand.
Germany has also found that if producers could store solar energy cheaply, that would help to even out the electricity price roller coaster.
It is a fortunate coincidence that the Yukon, with its large under-developed wind and solar power potential, recently hosted a conference on energy storage systems; but no news yet on any practical follow-up action by the YTG or by Yukon Energy.
An important take away for the next territorial election may be that many Yukoners are well aware that the world and many jurisdictions in Canada are already adopting policies and systems that reward clean, renewable power producers.
These kinds of developments are economic engines that can power the Yukon’s future sustainable economy and also protect its amazing natural environment.
The massive involvement and public engagement concerning the Yukon Energy LNG project suggests that Yukoners already know this.
Kenneth de la Barre