Whitehorse Daily Star

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PROJECTS UNVEILED – Shown left to right during Tuesday’s announcement are Coral Voss, the Yukon Conservation Society’s executive director; Energy, Mines and Resources Minister Ranj Pillai; Yukon MP Larry Bagnell; and Kluane First Nation Chief Bob Dickson.

Clean energy projects a ‘great milestone’

Yukon MP Larry Bagnell announced Tuesday the federal government is spending $5.4 million on five clean-energy projects across the Yukon.

By John Tonin on September 23, 2020

Yukon MP Larry Bagnell announced Tuesday the federal government is spending $5.4 million on five clean-energy projects across the Yukon.

“It’s a very exciting day; it’s another great milestone in a clean energy future for the Yukon,” Bagnell told a press conference held at the Yukon Conservation Society’s offices.

He noted that the world has two crisis happening now: the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change.

Because of the Yukon’s response to the pandemic, Bagnell said, it has allowed “us, unlike the rest of the world, to continue our energy on the other crisis, climate change.”

Bagnell said it is incredible how Yukon First Nations have really led the way in reducing fossil fuels in their communities.

“Climate change affects us more than twice as the rest of the world, so we have to be leaders on this problem,” said Bagnell.

“One of the ways we are doing that is a six-year, $220 million fund to support clean energy projects, promote energy efficiency, and build skills and capacity in remote rural and First Nation communities.

“That is why I am pleased to announce today, on behalf of the minister of Natural Resources, Seamus O’Regan, that our government is supporting five community-led projects across Yukon with federal investments totalling $5.4 million.”

The five projects receiving funding are:

• The conservation society, which will receive $1.6 million to help evaluate the technical feasibility and the customer acceptance of utility controlled electric thermal storage heaters;

• the Carcross/Tagish First Nation (C/TFN) will receive $2.1 million to install a biomass district heating system which should replace electric fossil fuel heating systems within five of its community buildings;

• the Teslin Tlingit Council will receive $800,000 to construct a biomass heating system for eight new duplexes, totalling 16 units;

• the Yukon government will receive $574,000 to work with participating territorial First Nations to assess capacity gaps that can delay new clean energy projects and support community development through the best practices to meet their needs; and

• the Kluane First Nation will receive $345,900 to develop a forest resources management plan to meet its current and future biomass needs.

Bagnell said these five investments will help create a clean energy future, support economic opportunities, and make Canada a global leader in this century of clean growth.

Over the past decade, said Energy, Mines and Resources Minister Ranj Pillai, the Yukon government has been working to establish strong government-to-government co-operation with Yukon First Nations on energy projects.

“Thanks to these relationships, we’ve been able to successfully support Yukon First Nation governments in developing community-based energy plans, implementing renewable energy projects, investing in the use of biomass as a heating source, and improving the energy efficiency of our local buildings,” said Pillai.

Since 2015, he added, Yukon First Nations have completed more than 100 energy-related projects in collaboration with the government.

“This is a lot of success, but I think we all know there needs to be more,” said Pillai.

“That’s why we’ve been working to improve our to ability provide and support for First Nation energy projects.”

The government is currently working with the CTFN, Champagne-Aishihik First Nation, Liard First Nation, Teslin Tlingit Council, Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation and White River First Nation to evaluate capacity gaps hampering the implementation of energy projects within each of these communities.

Coral Voss, the conservation society’s executive director, said the $1.6 million in funding to evaluate the technical feasibility as well as the customer acceptance of utility-controlled electric thermal storage heaters, is a step forward in quickening the efforts to reduce the territory’s need for diesel and natural gas.

“This project will accelerate the territory’s efforts to reduce our reliance on diesel and natural gas and improve Yukon Energy’s independence and build a renewable-powered future for future generations of Yukoners.

Kluane First Nation Chief Bob Dickson said the forest resources project allows his First Nation to self-govern in a planned and measured way.

“This project is in response to serious challenges associated with forestry management, including the need for reliable feedstock for the community biomass boilers,” said Dickson.

“There are many benefits to biomass systems, including support for our traditional economy. People can get out and foster their traditional use of the land.”

Comments (27)

Up 1 Down 2

Always Questions on Sep 28, 2020 at 8:14 pm

Thank-you Woodcutter for sharing that knowledge, I will admit I was still thinking about the guy with a chainsaw & a truck. I also remember the boondoggle with Watson Lake Sawmill. Standing comments regarding forestry in my circle is more of a "since when are our 4" diameter trees worth anything", lol . Forestry has been an ignored industry in our Territory for sure.
It will absolutely work out! May take some time, but Yukoners are innovators and stubborn!
My hope for the FN's embracing the biomass systems is that eventually they will look beyond just supplying the fuel and support local people that may want to pursue actually designing, installing & maintaining them, wouldn't that be something? Start to finish - Made in Yukon solutions. No offence meant to woodcutters.
IMO, a training stream should be offered right now that somehow, someway supports someone interested in keeping their system optimal. Job shadow a designer, a contractor and maintenance. Tap into those 'outside' companies expertise. Exposure to every step for the youngsters or even young at hearts. Opportunity does abound. Personally, I want mini-nuke if it just weren't so scary.
Keep well

Up 8 Down 5

Woodcutter on Sep 26, 2020 at 5:51 pm

@ Always Question?, indeed there is opportunity. When I started there was just a bunch of guys with pick up trucks and misc equipment that hot scrounged up, now there is feller bunched graple skidder, self loading logging trucks , dozens and all sorts of log trucks. We were all using chain saws now there is processors as well as chain saws. Wood cutting has always been something a little operator can do to make a few bucks and it sure beat collecting welfare. The industry and demand has grown so much that wood is bring trucked in from B.C. and loads of wood are being shipped to Inuvick and Ft McPherson. With more demand the industry will expand and the nice thing about it, is it will create permanent self sufficient jobs for local economies.

I am sure the systems are complicated, however with training and experience it will work out.

Forestry has been the only industry I know of in the Yukon that doesn't get a hand out, bail out or other corporate welfare cheque. Imagine turning one load of fuel from down south into an equivalent of 200 loads by harvesting our natural resource. Creating jobs and addressing climate change as well ad career opportunities.

Up 33 Down 4

Jim on Sep 26, 2020 at 10:26 am

@woodcutter, better lay off Larry’s kool-aid. First Nations are not the trailblazers in this field. Are these projects not designed and built by specialists in their respected fields? First Nations are the recipients of federal and territorial funding. If we used the same tax dollars could we not have Yukon Energy be the same trailblazer? But alas, we can’t even install a battery storage site unless it is installed on First Nations land all while Champagne Ashihik is trying to have the water license revoked for the hydro facility that supplies 25% of our renewable energy. This whole announcement is typical Liberal vote pandering.

Up 26 Down 2

JohnW on Sep 25, 2020 at 4:48 pm

Imagine if the $1.6 million bribe to the conservation society was actually used to reduce electrical demand. For example, think of how many simple cost-effective timers on DHW tanks to turn them off during peak demand periods, could be installed for $1.6 million. Many jurisdictions have been using such simple effective means to reduce demand for more than 50 years. This bribe is nothing but more LIB vote pandering; all show, no substance, no surprise.

Up 25 Down 1

Salt on Sep 25, 2020 at 3:01 pm

No joke, YCS is performing the study and any rational person would know after one look that the ‘tech’ is not fit for purpose. It’s an attempt to move more homes onto electric heat by offsetting their time of use. It’s sold as demand reduction when it will increase total consumption and increase diesel generation. It also requires costly upgrades to the utility facilities servicing the trial locations. Not economic, not efficient and doesn’t achieve stated goals, so, par for course.

Up 41 Down 2

Max Mack on Sep 25, 2020 at 11:21 am

The level of graft here is astonishing. Graft that you and I will end up paying for through increased taxes and utility rates.
Biomass is hardly green. Where do you think these biomass facilities will get their supply of wood? Either they will resort to mass clear cutting or they will be importing logs from down south - which means clear cutting somewhere.

As for the YCS conducting a feasibility study. That's a joke, right?

Up 23 Down 1

Always Questions on Sep 25, 2020 at 10:48 am

Opportunities in forestry? Woodcutting is the opportunity? hmm, The systems fail because of lack of appropriate fuel wood use, it's not just throw another log on the fire. The general maintenance & repair of these systems can be finicky and you need skilled expertise to keep them operating efficiently and effectively.
If I were to make a career change, biomass tech might be a real opportunity.

Up 32 Down 2

Groucho d'North on Sep 25, 2020 at 10:17 am

And the feds can provide more money in the future to remove wood burning appliances to prevent the smoke that hangs in the valley during an inversion. Anybody remember the late 80s when we had that issue and the people of Riverdale could no longer burn wood?
Seldom are these 'new' ideas thought through, they are issued in haste in an effort to be seen to be doing something progressive. They avoid digging into the real solutions like micro nuke because they don't have the smarts or courage to promote a technology most are unfamiliar with. It's a brave new world, run by tired, myopic cowards struggling to remain in control.

Up 13 Down 3

Graeme Bethell on Sep 25, 2020 at 8:58 am

Interesting dialogue. Here is another very viable renewable energy option - gasification which has some features similar to pyrolysis but is much more efficient at recovering resources such as energy and reducing GHG emissions. It can recover resources from municipal waste, waste wood and all other biomass materials. It can render harmless plastics and divert all waste from landfills, which are huge pollution emitters.

Up 12 Down 8

Matthew on Sep 25, 2020 at 6:34 am

It's ALL a lie people.. free and clean energy is here and has been for years!! If free/clean energy was here the world would stop turning! So many would be jobless! They have engines that run on WATER and what comes out of the exhaust? OXYGEN! Thats only 1 example... now you go find others yourselves! I'll help, google "searl generator"

Up 26 Down 3

Jc on Sep 24, 2020 at 10:13 pm

Joseph Mearl, Bagnell is just patronizing a certain group. Don't know why though, he always gets their votes anyway.

Up 25 Down 6

Jc on Sep 24, 2020 at 10:09 pm

What puzzles me though, is since the Yukon government and Federal government is shutting down mining in the Yukon, why have the minister of mines at the briefing? Oh wait, now I remember, it's Minister of Energy, shut down Mines and Resources Minister. Pardon me.

Up 35 Down 1

Martin on Sep 24, 2020 at 5:27 pm

Funny how nobody mentions the cleanest and cheapest fuel to burn: natural gas. Supply network is easy to install and we all would benefit.
Have a great day and happy to say I won't be voting greeners.
Said my piece and for the naysayers, don't bother trying to clarify me.

Up 38 Down 4

Tater on Sep 24, 2020 at 3:32 pm

Well, what about the failed biomass heating systems in the following buildings?
The Courthouse, the jail, Elija Smith School, the College (sorry, University) to name a few. What about the failed wood pellet plant in Teslin? These ideas have all been tried before at great expense to the taxpayer. Will lessons from those failures be considered?
Electric heat storage units, been used on the east coast for years, work great in their climate. Maybe a public engagement by the Government would provide feedback. It seems to be acceptable for them.
As far as district heating systems go, maybe someone would like to talk to Champagne Ashiak about their failed system.
Just some thoughts.

Up 51 Down 7

Joseph Mearl on Sep 24, 2020 at 10:34 am

"Bagnell said it is incredible how Yukon First Nations have really led the way in reducing fossil fuels in their communities."

Considering places like Old Crow with a population of around 300 people uses 800,000 liters of diesel for power generation sure sounds green eh? That's 2600+ liters of diesel burned for every man, woman and child living there.
Seeing how there is no road access, I'll give you one guess how the fuel arrives there... that's right, it's flown in.
More virtue signaling from clueless Mr. Bagnell.

As to the governments donations to other FN's listed in the article, I'd like to see which one of them will consider clean, renewable power, you know, hydro. I am sure they all must have a river in their vast territory?

Up 14 Down 34

Woodcutter on Sep 24, 2020 at 10:06 am

Yahoo, the future is upon us, inspite of all the typical cry babies, and yes burning wood creates carbon, however it also creates carbon an equal amount of Carbon is emitted as it naturally decomposes. Looks as if one poster couldn't get it all together so had to spout off several times in a row...lol

The FN are indeed the trail blazers in this field and this assistance should move things forward. When you look at the local economic impacts these projects will create, I see a bright future for the forestry sector which will provide opportunities to all Yukon folks.

Get out of the way all you cry babies.

Up 22 Down 12

Wilf Carter on Sep 24, 2020 at 8:19 am

Hi Yukoners Bio mass is not a clean energy as Larry Bagnell claims it to be!
They use pine and spruce as fuel source for bio mass.
Both plants connect carbon to create nitrogen 79% and oxygen 20% to release into the atmosphere for all animals to live on.
Science fact that liberals already know but are not telling Yukoners the truth.
Just trying to buy votes with false information is criminal in a lot of peoples books!
Larry states that climate change is taking place 2 times faster in the Yukon then any where else in the world which is not true.
Federal environment minister stated our temperature was increasing three times faster then the rest of the world which again is not true.
Liberals can't even get their stories straight is climate changing two times faster or is it the temperature going up three times faster in Yukon then any where else in the world!

On the east coast people burn hardwood in their stoves to create heat and cook with.
Hard wood is much more dense wood and has 25% the carbon in it that soft woods do like pine or spruce.
The hard wood they use are maple and birch mostly.
Yukon has groves of birch all over and would be a much smarter move to burn birch as a bio mass fuel then softwood.
Yukon has to build birch hardwood groves that can be used for sawing logs to make furniture and for bio mass fuels.
There are birch groves in City of Whitehorse.

Up 22 Down 8

At home in the Yukon on Sep 23, 2020 at 9:16 pm

My Opinion, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors would be great. A single one would run the entire territory. Only one minor problem -- they are still in development, so are not yet available for purchase. Likely when they become available, other jurisdictions will snap them up before we get a chance until a critical mass is reached.

Yes SMR could save us from global warming, dispite that it presents a statistically small problem of nuclear waste. Alas, we must use other means in the meantime.

Up 25 Down 4

At home in the Yukon on Sep 23, 2020 at 9:13 pm

My Opinion: Wood is green, better than green, but only if it is cull wood. If wood is allowed to rot, it release methane which is a significantly worse greenhouse gas than CO2. When highways and firesmart are killing trees and shrubs anyways, it's better to burn it. When trees have died from beetles or fire, it's better for the environment to burn it.

Up 36 Down 10

JC on Sep 23, 2020 at 8:28 pm

Well, another 5.4 million bucks that his children and their generation will have to pay off the deficit and debt. While he retires and enjoys his big generous pension the tax payers gave him.

Up 31 Down 9

North_of_60 on Sep 23, 2020 at 6:49 pm

@MO is correct, a micro nuke in the mine pit at Faro would be a perfect, long-term, low CO2, renewable [they run on 'spent' fuel from large reactors] solution to the Yukon's energy future. But hey, there's no special interest votes to be bought with that idea, so no politician will ever promote it.

Up 29 Down 11

Kahn Cyr-Vayshen on Sep 23, 2020 at 5:43 pm

Conservation... Hahaha... Biomass fuels are a non-renewable, highly polluting, and toxic energy source. Save the asthmatics from this wretched curse. Will it be trees an hour or moose an hour burned to fuel those boilers? Conservation... Hahaha... SMH!

Hey... I know... Why don’t we fuel them boilers with all the old broken down solar panels lying around everywhere from the last surge in the stupid, green initiatives... Ya, we could clean up the environment and finally make the “green” industry work.

Up 43 Down 12

My Opinion on Sep 23, 2020 at 3:55 pm

Can't build a Dam, Solar and wind don't work in the winter. Need Micro Nuclear in Faro. Read about it - it is a great option for Yukon.

Up 47 Down 12

My Opinion on Sep 23, 2020 at 3:52 pm

Apparently there Is no Carbon emitted from burning wood. Who knew?

Up 66 Down 14

My Opinion on Sep 23, 2020 at 3:51 pm

All this money, and running around with an Open Cheque Book again at election time. Just like the 200,000,000.00 handed over just before the last election.
You notice almost all of this is going to First Nations? Only to come across if they get elected of course. Wonder if that will influence their vote? Ya Think?
Haven't seen or Heard from Larry in 6 months. I guess an election will be called.

Up 67 Down 8

My Opinion on Sep 23, 2020 at 3:46 pm

"Bagnell said it is incredible how Yukon First Nations have really led the way in reducing fossil fuels in their communities."
Meanwhile, Champaign Ashiak Band is doing its best to not allow a long term water licence that will shut down the green energy from Ashiak Lake Dam.

Up 81 Down 6

TMYK on Sep 23, 2020 at 2:44 pm

The Yukon Conservation Society, which will receive $1.6 million to help evaluate the technical feasibility and the customer acceptance of utility controlled electric thermal storage heaters.
Let that sink in. $1,600,000 to do an evaluation of a hypothetical situation. Your tax dollars put to good use and buy votes for the next election. This is insane.

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