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Water Today Title July 7, 2022

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Update 2017/12/8


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By Cori Marshall

As we continue our look at the opportunities for renewable energy production in remote northern communities, we move towards the west and look at the Yukon Territory. We contacted five communities in that territory, all of which are provided power from ATCO Electric Yukon. The primary power source for all five is diesel-fueled generators, and none have developed concrete plans to move away from this type of energy production.

The price of diesel in these communities ranges between $0.37 and $0.80 per litre. When compared to the price range of the other areas explored the Yukon doesn't fare so bad.

In the communities looked at in the Northwest Territories on-site diesel ranges from $0.70 to $1.23 a litre. In the Nunavut settlements $0.99 to $1.36, and in northern Québec it is a $1.40 a litre across the board. The average retail price for diesel in Canada ranged from $1.08 and $1.21 per litre in 2017.

Sherri Wright, Executive Director for the Kluane First Nation in the Burwash Landing and Destruction Bay communities, expressed that both "want to reduce reliance on fossil fuels."

The communities are moving to install a wind turbine project in 2018, that will consist of 3 turbines. Wright explained that the project would produce "570,000 kWh of power annually, [and] will replace 160,000 litres of diesel used in the area." Wright underlined that "27% of our annual consumption of diesel for electricity generation will be reduced."

"ATCO [Electric Yukon] will purchase our wind energy that is generated at the site," Wright added.

The Executive Director walked us through the steps that need to happen before the turbine site can be commissioned. Wright explained "site preparation [will take place] this spring, turbines are being installed later in 2018, [we] are unsure of the go-live date at this point, but things are in motion."

The community of Burwash Landing has used some form of renewable energy since the late 1990s in the way of biomass. The wind turbines that are to be installed are not new they have been refurbished. The project will cost approximately $2.4 million. The renewable energy projects that are to come or already in operation will allow the communities to become less dependent on the outside and will promote self-sufficiency and self-reliance.

The future wind turbines will add to the capacity of clean energy production in the area, as well as add an economic incentive as the communities can sell power generated back to their power supplier. "The community is very supportive of this work," Wright said.

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