Yukon seeks comment on independent power policy

The Yukon government has released a draft of its independent power production policy.

The Yukon government has released a draft of its independent power production policy.

When it is implemented, it will allow smaller independent power generation projects to sell energy to Yukon’s grid and off-grid communities.

The purpose of the policy is to “update and develop a policy framework for electricity that emphasizes efficiency, conservation and renewable energy,” according to the document.

But the focus is not exclusively on energy from renewable sources.

It also “calls for the replacement of imported diesel fuel with Yukon’s oil and gas resources.”

That is a “complete contradiction,” said Anne Middler, energy co-ordinator with the Yukon Conservation Society on Thursday.

“The point of independent power production should be to add renewables to the grid and not to further entrench and expand our use of fossil fuels for electricity. Our public utility is already doing that, we should not be creating a policy that allows our government or our utilities to purchase dirty electricity that is generated from burning fracked gas to power the Yukon.”

There are two types of projects that fall under the policy.

Smaller projects selling either to Yukon’s main grid or to Watson Lake will get a guaranteed price per kilowatt hour. Those projects have to be fuelled by renewable energy sources.

Independent power producers with a larger scale project or wishing to sell to smaller diesel communities will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

At that level of assessment, both renewable and natural gas fuelled projects will be considered.

The reason for that, said Energy Minister Scott Kent, is because it could help smaller communities get off burning diesel.

“We want to look to a cleaner-burning fuel, and we feel that natural gas is a cleaner burning fuel.”

It also could help out mining companies who wish to fuel their operations with liquefied natural gas, because it may allow them to sell excess power generated back to the Yukon.

“The Wellgreen (platinum project), for instance, is very close to Burwash Landing, and if they generate excess power at their mine operation, they may want to sell that excess power into the grid in Burwash and Destruction Bay.”

No Yukon mining operations are currently burning LNG as fuel, although some have expressed interest in the technology, including the proposed $2.5-billion Casino copper mine.

NDP energy critic Kate White said allowing independent power producers to burn fossil fuels isn’t good enough.

“The common misconception that natural gas is cleaner than diesel – we need to put it to bed. (Over its) lifecycle, it’s worse than diesel.

“There are other ways to increase our power production and fight climate change at the same time. But if this government only wants to focus on natural gas, then it’s hard to feel like hope isn’t lost.”

She also said that the government’s stated intention to replace imported diesel with Yukon’s oil and gas resources pre-empts the public conversation currently underway about whether fracking will be allowed in the territory.

“It clearly shows the government’s intention to allow fracking in the Yukon. And to me, that’s disrespectful to Yukoners who are still going through the process with the select committee on the risks and benefits of hydraulic fracturing.”

The government will accept comments on the draft policy through July 25, 2014. There will be a consultation open house from 5 to 8 p.m. on June 25 at 206A Lowe St. in Whitehorse.

More information can be found at www.energy.gov.yk.ca.

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