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Energy, Mines and Resources Minister Ranj Pillai

Independent Power Production policy is set for release soon

Policy to allow independent power producers to sell large amounts of renewable energy to the grid has been finalized, says Energy, Mines and Resources Minister Ranj Pillai.

By Chuck Tobin on January 10, 2019

Policy to allow independent power producers to sell large amounts of renewable energy to the grid has been finalized, says Energy, Mines and Resources Minister Ranj Pillai.

Pillai said in an interview last Friday the Independent Power Production policy will be released by the end of the month.

There is still an internal review process to be completed, but the policy is ready to go, the minister told the Star.

He said there was a substantial amount of work put into development of the policy by staff and representatives of Yukon Energy, its parent company, the Yukon Development Corp., and ATCO Electric Yukon.

The key, the minister insisted, was ensuring the purchase of power generated by private producers did not have any impact on ratepayers.

Pillai said he was unable to discuss details of the policy ahead of the internal review.

“We have completed the Independent Power Production policy,” he said. “The work has been done. The goal is to have it out by the end of the month.

“We just have the internal process to be completed and then we can release it.”

Pillai did say they’ve removed generation by natural gas as being eligible to qualify as an energy source under the policy.

The former Yukon Party government had included generation by natural gas as being eligible.

That government had felt that by allowing natural gas as an eligible energy source under the policy, it would encourage new mines and such to install natural gas generators with a larger capacity than needed so they could earn revenue by selling power back to the grid.

The Liberals promised in their 2016 election campaign to remove natural gas from the policy.

Pillai said there are approximately 11 projects in the hopper that would qualify under the new policy. Those include Old Crow’s solar farm, the Kluane First Nation’s wind farm and the wind farm proposed for Haeckel Hill.

The government, he said, has also been in discussion with the Carcross-Tagish First Nation regarding the potential for wind generation on Montana Mountain, for instance.

The Haeckel wind project, which has already been given the green light from the assessment board and the Yukon government, is proposing four wind turbines with the capacity to produce enough power to supply more than 600 homes.

The policy guiding micro-generation was introduced in 2013. It allows for smaller projects like household solar panels to sell excess energy back to the grid.

There are currently 225 micro-generators contributing to the grid under the policy, all using solar power, according to government records.

Of the 225, 215 are private and 10 are government.

The policy calls for a government subsidy of the program.

While figures were not available for 2018, in 2017, the government paid out $58,044 to 119 micro-generators, or just shy of $500 each.

Comments (18)

Up 6 Down 3

Max Mack on Jan 16, 2019 at 4:44 pm

"For places like OldCrow (sic) it helps reduce transporting diesel which makes plenty of sense. It will actually reduce costs and carbon footprint."

Not so. Summer light will potentially generate a lot of electricity, but much of this will be discharged to ground as electrical demand dives in Old Crow during the summer. Conversely, during low-light winter months, there won't be much generation to offset demand; so, diesel will still be used to meet demand.

The only thing the scheme will reliably do is generate a lot of cash for the first nation, while the system will still have to rely on diesel generators. You and I will be paying for this expensive non-solution through increased rates.

Up 12 Down 1

Jim on Jan 16, 2019 at 9:16 am

I agree we need all the power we can produce with wind, solar and bio-mass. But, we need it when our hydro facilities cannot keep up with the demand. If we are just purchasing extra power from these systems when we don’t need it, then we are buying it and wasting it. Until we have a way to store it until it’s needed, like January or February, then we are not lessening our fossil fuel use in the winter.
There will actually be more diesel used and more generators leased as we are building more infrastructure that is based solely on electric use. To say that we will purchase excess electricity during sunny summer months and it will not affect overall consumer costs overall is somewhat naive. For places like OldCrow it helps reduce transporting diesel which makes plenty of sense. It will actually reduce costs and carbon footprint.
But to buy back extra in the summer is just lining someone else’s pockets.

Up 19 Down 0

Oil head here with a question on Jan 15, 2019 at 4:17 pm

@ Werner Rhein: I just commented on another article and ask you as well: how do you justify living in the Yukon and not be a "oil head" as you call us that think differently. Do you have a car, a canoe, a bike, fancy outerwear made of plastic? Do you shop your groceries in supermarkets that get them trucked in or do you eat berries and meat only? Do you fly to Germany to see all those great wind turbines yourself and have a little visit on the side? Or do you prefer your winters in warmer countries and fly there often? Enlighten this oil-head please.

Oh, and just FYI: when calling others dumb you should spell it right, who is the dumb one now?

Up 10 Down 2

Himmler’sDoppelganger on Jan 14, 2019 at 9:05 pm

Werner - nobody, but nobody, would dare think that German technologists or politicians are in any way ‘dumber’ than average. We know better than to take on the might of the Reich. We don’t want to make enemies of the Masters. We prefer to live long and healthy lives instead.

Up 1 Down 21

Sally Wright on Jan 14, 2019 at 6:54 pm

The grid absolutely needs as much biomass, wind and solar that Yukon homeowners, First Nations, and business people can supply. We need to develop a smart grid so YEC can manage the basketful of renewables that we, the Yukon people, will provide to all of us on the grid. It is nonsense to say that this renewable energy is not needed. We need to get off of fossil fuels, our grandchildren are beckoning us to act responsibly. No more pipelines, we need to pound pipelines into transmission lines.
Birds die everyday because of Oil and it's legacy of Climate Change. The beauty of wind heat is that there is nothing colder than a windy day. Please, for the children, let us get on with the decarbonization of our energy systems. I am very glad that this government has taken Natural gas out of the Independent Power Policy, this is crucial if Yukon is to ever get on a path of carbon reduction. It is now accepted amongst scientists that burning LNG in Whitehorse for electricity has the same carbon footprint as coal.

Up 17 Down 2

Max Mack on Jan 14, 2019 at 5:49 pm

@Werner Rhein
Germany is touted as being a leader in vis-a-vis "renewable energy", particularly wind and solar.

Read what Reuters has to say:
"The run-away expansion of wind turbines and solar panels has made German prices the highest in Europe since 2013, not just because of surcharges but because more volatile green power capacity also necessitates new transmission grids and higher costs to manage them."


Up 18 Down 3

Brian on Jan 14, 2019 at 7:15 am

What blows my mind is that all this effort into old technology (Wind and Solar).
Have you seen an Eco-Fan on a wood stove? Since most of us heat with wood, why is our government not investing in more useful Heat generated electrical supply's? Like a 4 foot or larger section of chimney pipe that puts out a current?
Also, Renewable Resources generate 12 volt or DC current, so why are we not switching our household supply to 12v or DC. Lower voltage is safer.
Fighting the power supply by inverting it from DC to AC just to fit this old outdated electrical grid. Wasted energy in conversion loss in heat.
I agree if you have a solar farm, you should have a battery bank to store the surplus energy, instead of feeding it to a grid that doesn't need it.

Up 3 Down 31

Werner Rhein on Jan 13, 2019 at 4:38 pm

Here is a little bit of help for all you uneducated and cowardly commenting with pseudonyms, oil-heads.

Wind and solar is absolutely economical and every cent spent is recovered much faster than from any coal, oil or gas electricity generating system but especially so for nuclear electricity generation.

One big cost all oil-heads and the by oil & gas money corrupted politicians never put into the equation are the enormous cost of damages from global warming and climate change. Most-likely because it is a bit more complicated than just turning down and bad-mouthing new technologies.


Or do you clowns really think that the investors into green energy in Germany and the politicians who support it really so much dumber than you?

Up 20 Down 3

Sparky Curance on Jan 12, 2019 at 12:39 pm

Well, I must say that the most significant power issue that the government faces in successfully navigating this or any other issue is Brain-Power.

Definitely in short supply. Perhaps they would benefit from connecting to independent sources of Brain-Power - The ones with actual surpluses. Look outside your backscratching circle of nepotistic-cronyism!

Up 29 Down 8

North_of_60 on Jan 11, 2019 at 7:52 pm

Einstein-he-is-not carefully ignores the fact that wind turbines kill large scarce birds like raptors while house cats only kill small birds that are not endangered. That's the sort of selective reality all the wind and solar aficionados believe in. No wind turbine has ever generated enough power to do better than barely breaking even on the cost of it's manufacture and installation. The two turbines on the hill near town are a good example of how to lose money generating small amounts of intermittent electricity. Wind turbine projects are designed to harvest government subsidies not energy. If there were no subsidies none would be erected.

Up 31 Down 7

max mack on Jan 11, 2019 at 11:58 am

'The key, the minister insisted, was ensuring the purchase of power generated by private producers did not have any impact on ratepayers.'

100% lie. Wind and solar has limited application in the Yukon. It is very expensive relative to hydro and gas. Subsidizing these so-called green energy projects will cost rate-payers dearly.

Up 29 Down 4

Groucho d'North on Jan 11, 2019 at 10:24 am

I'm keen to see what the rate per watt will be and will it be equal in both directions? Also while we're on energy and costs, Its been a few months now, will home heating fuel in the Yukon be exempt from carbon tax as it is in the NWT? It appears our premier and his energy /environment ministers are keeping their heads down regarding any answers to the remaining questions on how the carbon tax will be applied here.

Up 27 Down 5

YT on Jan 11, 2019 at 9:08 am

"There are currently 225 micro-generators contributing to the grid under the policy, all using solar power"
And none of these are decreasing our Carbon footprint one iota, as they only contribute to the grid when we don't need them.
But hey, the owners do get cheaper rates during the winter when we are burning fossil fuels, subsidized by taxpayers.
How about requiring that anyone installing PVs and hooking up to the grid must install battery storage to qualify for any lowered rates or funding.

Up 5 Down 21

Einstein-in-his-spare-time on Jan 11, 2019 at 8:09 am

Flabber - it has been analytically proven that wind turbines kill fewer birds than domestic cats. And as for the ecological food chain arguments about assisting the mosquito population, well, that really is just very, very silly indeed. Perhaps the turbines could be strategically oriented to direct swarms of rogue mozzies onto well-designed fly traps. If the cats don’t get ‘em first .

Up 26 Down 8

My Opinion on Jan 10, 2019 at 8:19 pm

I was just in Europe. They are dropping this nonsense. It didn't work. Life span too short and costs way to high. Half paid for when it needs to be replaced. Also we are just too cold and too far north for any benefit.

Up 28 Down 8

Double dipping on Jan 10, 2019 at 7:54 pm

So I guess this government doesn’t see an issue with funding these solar and wind projects with taxpayers dollars. Then letting the groups who they give ownership of the infrastructure to sell excess power back to, that’s right, the old taxpayer. Will they be selling power back to the grid when it’s needed, or just send it back to the grid during times when it’s not needed. All the while we, the ratepayer, will still be on the hook to buy it? All this while still requiring diesel generators during the winter months when wind and solar don’t meet the demand.

Up 43 Down 20

flabergasted on Jan 10, 2019 at 3:51 pm

No wind or solar will help with increasing base load power during the middle of winter. This is absolutely idiotic. if it needs a subsidy, it isn't worth doing except to line the pockets of your kleptocratic commie homies while robbing the serfs or tax slaves.

In winter, batteries that store solar generated power need to be warmed by non-solar sources.

When it is too hot, too cold, too windy or not windy enough, wind turbines are useless. They also cause health problems and kill birds and bats which will increase problems with insects - mosquitoes particularly.

Natural gas, clean diesel with adequate exhaust filtration thorium, and nuclear are the most reliable and best value to make a massive difference very quickly, even in the middle of winter... and we will need it as the grand solar minimum continues.. less sunlight will make current commercial solar installations useless in less than a decade.

Up 27 Down 21

Hmmmm on Jan 10, 2019 at 3:19 pm

Am I the only one thinking that this is just some way for Pillai to help his old employer get into the power production biz?

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