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Dr. Lesley Brown

Research funding supports green power initiatives

Yukon University has received $500,000 to support the successful inclusion of clean power initiatives into the electrical power systems of the Yukon and Northwest Territories.

By Whitehorse Star on May 10, 2022

Yukon University has received $500,000 to support the successful inclusion of clean power initiatives into the electrical power systems of the Yukon and Northwest Territories.

The electric vehicles and smart heating research project will explore the potential effects that electric vehicles and smart heating units may have on the electrical distribution networks in the territories and offer novel solutions to address these challenges, the university said Monday.

Dr. Michael Ross, the NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Northern Energy Innovation, is the successful recipient of the federal government’s Applied Research and Technology Partnership.

The university is working with the territoria government, the Yukon Energy Corp., ATCO Electric Yukon, the Yukon Conservation Society (YCS) and NT Energy to address the increased use of electric vehicles and smart heating required to support territorial greenhouse gas emission reduction targets.

The research will identify specific bottlenecks in each territory’s electrical distribution networks that could prevent the clean energy technologies from being successfully adopted and develop solutions to mitigate potential technical barriers.

This research builds off Yukon University’s expertise in modelling northern remote power systems.

The research team consists of two research analysts and about half a dozen student research assistants. Members will perform high-level modelling to develop impact assessments for several electric vehicle and smart heating adoption scenarios.

These scenarios and proposed solutions will be presented to the corresponding governments and utility partners for their consideration and planning.

Research results from the two-year project will guide territorial utilities as they plan infrastructure upgrades and logistics strategies for their distribution networks in the coming years.

The first year of the project will focus on the Yukon Integrated System. The second year of this project will transition resources to the N.W.T.’s distribution networks. Upon completion, research results will be made public on the YukonU website.

Fieldwork will begin in Whitehorse followed by visits to grid-connected communities over the summer.

The team will conduct a study of the N.W.T.’s distribution network over the summer of 2023.

“Finding innovative ways to meet greenhouse gas emission reduction targets is an example of how Yukon University is solving real-world challenges in partnership with government, industry, and communities,” said Dr. Lesley Brown, the university’s president and vice-chancellor.

“Northern Energy Innovation has supported remote communities throughout Canada’s North and will now apply this expertise to two Canadian territories, thanks to funding from Government of Canada.

“We are committed to working towards the common good and believe that together we will build a more resilient North,” Brown said.

“Science and innovation lead to a stronger and more resilient economy,” added François-Philippe Champagne, the federal minister of Innovation, Science and Industry.

“As a government, we will always be there to support small- and medium-sized businesses as they adopt new technologies, and our college sector plays a crucial role in supporting these businesses.

“Today’s announcement will see strong partnerships that will foster innovation and support the next big idea all while providing top notch training to Canada's future generation of skilled workers."

Alejandro Adem, president, NSERC, called Ottawa’s support “a testament to the value of colleges, (Quebec) CEGEPs and polytechnics and how they contribute to Canadian innovation – from exceptional applied research expertise and training experience, to outstanding facilities and equipment.

“On behalf of the tri-agencies, congratulations to the successful colleges who will benefit from this special investment that will help their students, local businesses and communities thrive.”

Energy, Mines and Resources Minister John Streicker said the university’s clean energy research “will provide valuable insights and solutions on how we can ensure our electrical grid meets the increasing demands to power our homes and vehicles while reducing the need for fossil fuels.

“This important research will help the Yukon increase renewable energy in the territory and reach the goals in Our Clean Future to reduce the Yukon’s greenhouse gas emissions by 45 per cent by 2030.”

Mila Milojevic, a Yukon Energy vice-president, said it’s “committed to providing Yukoners with electricity they can trust will be there when and where they need it.

“As more Yukoners turn to smart-heating devices and electric vehicles to offset their use of fossil fuels, it’s critical for Yukon Energy to better understand the impact of these new technologies.

“This study will help identify the upgrades needed to the power system to reliably meet customer needs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Yukon,” Milojevic added.

“Results from Yukon University’s electric vehicles and smart heating study will have a direct hand in ensuring Yukon’s grid is built to support future generations of population and economic growth in the territory.”

Scott Pressnail, a YCS energy analyst, said the project will “further Yukon Conservation Society’s (YCS) mandate of promoting and integrating responsible clean energy technology as a means of reducing the territory’s carbon footprint.

“YCS is pursuing a smart heating technology (electric thermal storage) pilot project in anticipation of mass deployment throughout the territory, and the results of this research will identify optimal paths for responsible deployment.”

Jay Massie, ATCO’s vice-president, Northern Development and Indigenous Relations, said “making this transition smoothly requires long-term thinking and collaboration among members of industry, regulators, policymakers, and customers.

“Striking the right balance between community needs, environmental stewardship, system reliability and price stability is essential,” Massie added

“The results of this study will help to ensure our investments in clean technology are future-proof and cost-effective so that we can balance the energy transition while ensuring the safe and reliable delivery of power to our customers across the North.”

Bruno Pereira, the director of NT Energy, said “analysis of N.W.T.’s distribution infrastructure will allow our team to consider innovative strategies that may provide energy alternatives for Northwest Territories Power Corporation, in addition to generating exciting opportunities for NT Energy.”

Comments (18)

Up 0 Down 0

Mitch Holder on May 20, 2022 at 3:01 pm

@ Adam Greetham - glad to read you write so, that was more or less was I was trying to convey. I appreciate the "let's figure it out" approach more so than the, "Because I am Liberal so it will just work" approach.

Up 1 Down 0

Adam Greetham on May 19, 2022 at 11:43 am

R and D funding helps all those working towards providing solutions no matter how little investment is provided to education, industry can then utilize this information to prepare on our end the hardware requirements, like what we’re doing here in Whitehorse....turning Whitehorse Copper Magnetite Tailings into thermal energy storage bricks. We’re all working together on this opportunity to better our community to raise our standards on how we all live and consume and Yukon University is helping us lead the way.

Up 4 Down 1

Mitch Holder on May 16, 2022 at 11:46 am

@ Vern Schlimbesser - Ahh, the heart of the issue, let us unpack your first misconception, as it points to the underlying cause of resistance. You say "Climate Change Denier", but who among these individuals is actually denying climate change? The rhetoric I always read or hear or see is that Climate Change is ALWAYS HAPPENING. This observation, at least to me, implies no denial at all, merely critical thinking in regards to the interpretation of the sop called "experts", which., let us not forget, utilized that same expertise to create the industrial free market that forced us all to live in cities, drive vehicles and heat and farm and produce with plastic and oil, when so many other alternatives were always available. Now, we are the criminals, who must be punished with taxes to CORRECT OUR MISBEHAVIOUR. tell you what Vern, I am sure you can agree, I WOULD LIKE TO SEE THEM DIVEST THEMSELVES OF THEIR INDUSTRIAL GAINS AND WEALTH before passing the donation plate around to you or I.

LOESS PLATEAU, PEOPLES' REPUBLIC OF CHINA - A couple generations ago, everyone in this valley was dying of famine; The lush agricultural basin was overutilized and dying. Those starving, half dead people looked at what wasn't wrecked in their valley and made more of that happen, on their hands and knees, their kin dying next to them, in order to save it and themselves. Today, L:oess Plateau is an example to the world of the power of terraforming and permaculture. My point is this: It takes boots on the ground with shovels in hand to ACTUALLY FIX THE WORLD. All the taxation will only go to the wealthy, who will not do their part, as evidenced by the inaction to date. Remember Vern, these are the same people who created our problems and Einstein had some choice words about not being able to solve the current problem with the current thinking. I do not know about you, but I would rather not follow these idiots when they caused the problems they now claim, with all arrogance and confidence, they can solve. They can't, they'll die trying, we'll die waiting. I think that is the undercurrent in all of this and I think you articulated that acutely, but the next time you think about denial, look at your leadership, not the disempowered masses subject to our leadership.

I was raised to leave the world better than I found it and no one told me it was because of climate change. I still stand by that and I will always stand by that. We both care about the well being of this planet and the lifeforms on it. As in many facets of our current existence, WE NEED UNITY NOT UNIFORMITY. Neither diversity nor uniformity are aspirational goals so much as pragmatism.

Up 5 Down 0

Mitch Holder on May 12, 2022 at 12:40 pm

While I appreciate that the Whitehorse Star for providing a forum to public discourse, the arbitrary editing of our posts is becoming somewhat questionable. So let's unpack that - in our day and age, the sheer volume of public response makes it pretty hard for any one agency to personally moderate every submission from the public, so a proofing process is not viable.

This comes to my point. The next logical step is to edit, omit or outright censor. Some have taken to this with enthusiastic glee and reeeeeeeeee, others, like this publication, have not. Some of my above comment was omitted, we all get passionate, so it was likely the more impassioned parts.

Initially, my reaction was visceral, but upon reflection, it is this editing when needed to maintain a cohesive public forum that I appreciate from your outlet when every other news agency in the country took the Liberal route of Stainesque populism in regards to censorship, ghost banning or cancel culture. Apparently I do not have fans in the government, about 30 of them at least as I observe. I also appreciate you, but I would appreciate you more if you debated your opinions with me instead of supporting censorship by merely liking or disliking things, as if life were so binary as to afford you only those two choices. Keep doing it though, and that IS all you will be afforded, so exercise your right to discourse and tell me why you don't like what I say - I don't bite. Of course, as a government employee, I understand how you can only like or dislike and in many instances, cannot comment or debate. Consequently, some of you probably want to punch me. In either case, I will be civil, if YOU ARE.

Thank you Whitehorse Star for being the editor inside my head sometimes, I will endeavour to be more civil in future posts. We would all appreciate if everyone involved with this forum considered doing the same. Times are stressful, our small town does not need division, it needs that Northern collective spirit of getting things done.

Up 14 Down 2

Vern Schlimbesser on May 12, 2022 at 6:37 am

I wonder if most 'Climate Change Deniers' would voice a different tune IF the money, rhetoric, and effort being spent by our leadership was being spent in a less wasteful manner in a way that would actually have some effect on our environment. I suspect a large part of the resistance is that they know all the sacrifice will achieve nothing.

Up 8 Down 5

Mitch Holder on May 11, 2022 at 2:57 pm

Some days I am more on point than others. Clearly this community does not support this. So I ask any of you, why? I want to hear from YOU what YOU think we should be doing to better the environment for future generations and for our own quality of life.

No joke, I am here to hear you out.

To climate change deniers, do you deny pollution? Do you deny that regardless of whether or not we are actually damaging the planet, we should be leaving it better than was found? That is how I was raised by one parent who had to be two, what is your excuse?

I will start - domesticate all resources in Canada and prioritize domestic need over all else. PEI potatoes not good enough for Yankees? They are good enough for me. Sell them to me. Alberta beef being culled because climate emergencies ravaged feedstock crops? Cull them, sell me the meat.

Up 25 Down 7

Josey Wales on May 11, 2022 at 10:26 am

Awesome more money laundering, I mean green washing!
Berkeley North of 60 is a commi factory churning out heaps of socialist cult members...funded by y’all?

Now...chant a long and your grades will improve comrades!

Up 22 Down 4

Groucho d'North on May 11, 2022 at 9:49 am

More money for pie in the sky dreaming. Why not invest in confirming a technology that once put Canada on the international map with Candu?
The governments of Ontario, New Brunswick, Alberta and Saskatchewan released a strategic plan providing a path forward to advance small modular reactors (SMR) in the country.
Why is the Yukon afraid of putting some investment into proving this solution in this lattitude? Is it because of the Luddites in charge?

Up 24 Down 8

Max Mack on May 10, 2022 at 9:59 pm

Looks like this money will be used to fund modelling . . . not actual scientific research. Models are not data and are not evidence (in the traditional scientific sense) and can be tuned to produce desired results.

"All models are wrong. Some are useful." I expect the main goal of these particular models is political . . .

Up 23 Down 5

I said pardon on May 10, 2022 at 9:19 pm

This is all fine and good, but as @Richard Smith states, we lack the increased generation capacity to make these green dreams come true. There is no further study required, everyone knows what’s needed. Build something. Anything! Haekel hill and the south access battery bank aren’t going to cut it. Otherwise, I’d recommend spending this 500k on diesel fuel at today’s prices rather than waiting until fall.

Up 23 Down 9

bonanzajoe on May 10, 2022 at 5:12 pm

More tax payer money squandering. Look what this "climate change" scam has done to the oil and gas prices. By this time next year we will be paying close to 3 dollars a Litre for regular gas. I have no problem with electric vehicles, but money should be spent on inventing charging stations that will charge a vehicle at the same rate of time it takes to gas up. And believe me, turning to electric vehicles will not bring down CO2/carbon dioxide levels. But it will take years and trillions of dollars for the dumb leftys to finally realize that. And when they do, they will find a way to blame the conservatives and Trump.

Up 13 Down 10

Mitch Holder on May 10, 2022 at 4:56 pm

@ Vlad and indeed everyone - I agree with you. I know we are all up to our eyeballs in incompetency. I want to point out, I am as harsh a critic as anyone living, I was merely pointing out that it is refreshing to see our school being used and for people to be asking instead of telling. Of course i would see money budgeted to greater needs, no question.

I still think this is better news than reading about 4 windmills going up or idiots in the YTG talking about micro -reactors as if they would ever be smart enough to implement or maintain them, they can barely handle hydro.

Up 48 Down 12

vlad on May 10, 2022 at 3:40 pm

Perhaps the Star could add up all the so called "green initiatives" that have been funded both federally and by the territory just to see how many millions will have been wasted. It is beyond absurd the amount of dollars are being wasted when we lack.....MRI techs, Doctors, Nurses, housing, land development, food bank etc etc.

Up 22 Down 28

Matthew on May 10, 2022 at 3:39 pm

Such a joke! Clean and FREE energy is here. Many examples to pick from. Problem is, big oil runs the world right now, and every industry in it..

Up 40 Down 9

Yukoner on May 10, 2022 at 3:25 pm

Waste of time and money.. the solution is to build another hydro facility of appropriate size, not string together 100 little solution. All of there little solutions have tonnes of infrastructure with relatively short life span. 20-25 years for solar panels and then they are heading to the dump, all the while they probably did no good because the only time they generated anything was when we had enough hydro to cover the load.

Up 11 Down 29

Mitch Holder on May 10, 2022 at 3:19 pm

Despite my criticism of municipal, territorial and federal climate change initiatives, this to me is a good and sound proposal. We are utilizing our university towards research that may benefit locally. That to me, is not putting the cart before the horse, that speaks to the idea that maybe the government doesn't have all the answers, but they are willing to work with the national population to find them. I hope to see more reasonably scaled and budgeted projects like this in the future. Good job.

Now research Hemp agriculture in the territory so we can develop biomass, textiles, building materials and natural gas on scales we can use locally and export inter-provincially.

Up 45 Down 12

John on May 10, 2022 at 3:07 pm

Don't you just love the sound of a flushing toilet. Imagine all the folk who are just eking out a living and the benefit that they will derive from this wasteful spending. It really is nauseating to continually read that you can stand on Heckell Hill and just throw the money up into the air and watch wistfully disappear.

Up 39 Down 8

Richard Smith on May 10, 2022 at 2:19 pm

Huh?, This whole article could be reduced to one sentence.
We just need a SMR (small modular nuclear reactor) or another hydro dam.

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