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


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

Just Posted

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley gives a COVID-19 update during a press conference in Whitehorse on May 26. The Yukon government announced two new cases of COVID-19 in the territory with a press release on Oct. 19. (Alistair Maitland Photography)
Two new cases of COVID-19 announced in Yukon

Contact tracing is complete and YG says there is no increased risk to the public

Yukon Energy in Whitehorse on April 8. Yukon Energy faced a potential “critical” fuel shortage in January due to an avalanche blocking a shipping route from Skagway to the Yukon, according to an email obtained by the Yukon Party and questioned in the legislature on Oct. 14. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon Energy faced ‘critical’ fuel shortage last January due to avalanche

An email obtained by the Yukon Party showed energy officials were concerned

Jeanie McLean (formerly Dendys), the minister responsible for the Women’s Directorate speaks during legislative assembly in Whitehorse on Nov. 27, 2017. “Our government is proud to be supporting Yukon’s grassroots organizations and First Nation governments in this critical work,” said McLean of the $175,000 from the Yukon government awarded to four community-based projects aimed at preventing violence against Indigenous women. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon government gives $175k to projects aimed at preventing violence against Indigenous women

Four projects were supported via the Prevention of Violence against Aboriginal Women Fund

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone

When I was a kid, CP Air had a monopoly on flights… Continue reading

EDITORIAL: Don’t let the City of Whitehorse distract you

A little over two weeks after Whitehorse city council voted to give… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Northwestel has released the proposed prices for its unlimited plans. Unlimited internet in Whitehorse and Carcross could cost users between $160.95 and $249.95 per month depending on their choice of package. (Yukon News file)
Unlimited internet options outlined

Will require CRTC approval before Northwestel makes them available

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse. Yukon’s territorial government will sit for 45 days this sitting instead of 30 days to make up for lost time caused by COVID-19 in the spring. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Legislative assembly sitting extended

Yukon’s territorial government will sit for 45 days this sitting. The extension… Continue reading

Today’s mailbox: Mad about MAD

Letters to the editor published Oct. 16, 2020

Alkan Air hangar in Whitehorse. Alkan Air has filed its response to a lawsuit over a 2019 plane crash that killed a Vancouver geologist on board, denying that there was any negligence on its part or the pilot’s. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Alkan Air responds to lawsuit over 2019 crash denying negligence, liability

Airline filed statement of defence Oct. 7 to lawsuit by spouse of geologist killed in crash

Whitehorse city council members voted Oct. 13 to decline an increase to their base salaries that was set to be made on Jan. 1. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Council declines increased wages for 2021

Members will not have wages adjusted for CPI

A vehicle is seen along Mount Sima Road in Whitehorse on May 12. At its Oct. 13 meeting, Whitehorse city council approved the third reading for two separate bylaws that will allow the land sale and transfer agreements of city-owned land — a 127-square-metre piece next to 75 Ortona Ave. and 1.02 hectares of property behind three lots on Mount Sima Road. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Whitehorse properties could soon expand

Land sale agreements approved by council

Most Read