Old Crow pushes for renewable power

Old Crow is mostly white this time of year, but it is working on a plan to be a little bit more green.

Old Crow is mostly white this time of year, but it is working on a plan to be a little bit more green.

The remote northern community gets almost all of its electricity from a diesel plant owned and operated by Yukon Electrical Company Ltd.

The fuel has to be flown in, at great expense.

The community would like to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels, said Joe Linklater, chief of the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation.

It has already made efforts in that direction.

Two of the community’s newer buildings, the John Tizya Cultural Centre and the new research centre, have solar panels on the roof.

The high cost of burning diesel makes solar energy a viable option for Old Crow.

The panels are connected into the grid, so when they are producing more energy than the building is using, the excess power is sold back into the grid.

It’s a myth that solar energy is ineffective in the North, said Linklater.

“You don’t need direct sunlight for solar energy, you just need light for it work.”

And while winters are dark, there is plenty of light for the solar panels to feast on north of the Arctic Circle in the spring and summer months.

The community has also looked into the feasibility of wind power, said Linklater.

But the major challenge is that cold weather tends to ice up the moving parts of the turbine.

As as result, the studies done to date have found that wind power would not be cost effective at this point for the community.

Still, Old Crow wants to do more to move away from burning diesel.

The Yukon government is currently requesting proposals to conduct community energy planning for the community. The deadline for the tender is January 17.

The project is to calculate current energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions for Old Crow, and develop an action plan to both reduce energy demand and offer solutions for alternative energy supply.

The town has a few ideas already, said Linklater.

The community would like to expand its solar energy capabilities, possibly by building a solar farm, he said.

It also is planning to build a new multiplex with an arena, office space and other amenities.

Because of the proximity of the prosed building to the existing diesel plant, waste heat could be diverted from the generators and used to heat the building, said Linklater.

The community wants to reduce the cost of energy in the community, but it also wants to do something good for the environment, he said.

“The environment is obviously a huge concern.”

The younger generations in particular are worried about the future and wondering what kind of future that will be, he said.

Rapid changes to Arctic permafrost are already posing challenges for building construction, said Linklater.

Old Crow is a small place, and the impact of conservation initiatives there will have only tiny effects on the global scale.

But “at least we are trying to do something about it,” said Linklater.

Contact Jacqueline Ronson at

jronson@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

d
Wyatt’s World

Wyatt’s World for March 5, 2021.

g
Yukonomist: School competition ramps up in the Yukon

It’s common to see an upstart automaker trying to grab share from… Continue reading

The Yukon government responded to a petition calling the SCAN Act “draconian” on Feb. 19. (Yukon News file)
Yukon government accuses SCAN petitioner of mischaracterizing her eviction

A response to the Jan. 7 petition was filed to court on Feb. 19

City councillor Samson Hartland in Whitehorse on Dec. 3, 2018. Hartland has announced his plans to run for mayor in the Oct. 21 municipal election. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Councillor sets sights on mayor’s chair

Hartland declares election plans

Whitehorse RCMP will provide internet safety training due to an uptick of child luring offences. (iStock photo)
RCMP hosting internet safety webinars for parents and caregivers

The webinars will take place on March 23 and 25

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley receives his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine from Public Health Nurse Angie Bartelen at the Yukon Convention Centre Clinic in Whitehorse on March 3. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
State of emergency extended for another 90 days

“Now we’re in a situation where we see the finish line.”

The Yukon government says it is working towards finding a solution for Dawson area miners who may be impacted by City of Dawson plans and regulations. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Miner expresses frustration over town plan

Designation of claims changed to future planning

Team Yukon athletes wave flags at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremony in Whitehorse. The 2022 event in Wood Buffalo, Alta., has been postponed indefinitely. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News file)
2022 Arctic Winter Games postponed indefinitely

Wood Buffalo, Alta., Host Society committed to rescheduling at a later date

Crews work to clear the South Klondike Highway after an avalanche earlier this week. (Submitted)
South Klondike Highway remains closed due to avalanches

Yukon Avalanche Association recommending backcountry recreators remain vigilant

RCMP Online Crime Reporting website in Whitehorse on March 5. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Whitehorse RCMP launch online crime reporting

Both a website and Whitehorse RCMP app are now available

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is preparing for a pandemic-era election this October with a number of measures proposed to address COVID-19 restrictions. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City gets set for Oct. 21 municipal election

Elections procedures bylaw comes forward

A rendering of the Normandy Manor seniors housing facility. (Photo courtesy KBC Developments)
Work on seniors housing project moves forward

Funding announced for Normandy Manor

Tom Ullyett, pictured, is the first Yukoner to receive the Louis St-Laurent Award of Excellence from the Canadian Bar Association for his work as a community builder and mentor in the territory. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Tom Ullyett wins lifetime achievement award from the Canadian Bar Association

Ullyett has worked in the Yukon’s justice ecosystem for 36 years as a public sector lawyer and mentor

Most Read