NWT Energy Plan
December 09, 2012
The government of NWT has produced a publication called “Collaborating to Develop the 2013 Energy Plan”. The GNWT kicked off the public discussions with an energy charette in November and hopes to update its energy plan by March 2013.
A few points to note from the document:
- 80% of NWT’s energy use is from fossil fuels. Industry consumes a very large portion of total energy use within the NWT (37%), while transportation uses
27% and space heating 26%. Community electricity generation only accounts for 10% of all energy consumption in the NWT.
- Energy costs for space heating are roughly 4-5 times as much in Yellowknife of Sachs Harbour as in Edmonton.
- The report cites key successes in recent years being a including a substantial increase in the use of wood pellets for heating, progress in advancing potential hydro and transmission projects, and improved programs and actions on energy efficiency for government assets, businesses and residents.
Wood pellets are now used for heating in almost all communities with all-season road access, and pellet supply chains are being established in some of the
more remote communities. The success of these initiatives can be measured in GHG reductions; the GNWT adopted a target to reduce its direct emissions by 10% below 2001 levels and by 2011 had achieved a 30% reduction.
The report asks people for responses to 5 questions:
1.Are these Principles are still relevant ?
i. Reliable and affordable energy should be available in all NWT communities.
ii. The use of northern renewable energy for industrial developments should be promoted in a manner that provides for a lasting legacy of affordable and sustainable energy for the benefit of all residents.
iii. Energy development and management decisions should maintain the integrity of the natural environment and recognize the absolute importance of the long-term protection of these natural systems to the economic, social and cultural well-being of NWT residents.
iv. Regulatory processes related to the development and provision of energy in the NWT should be simply structured and as efficient as possible, while maintaining transparency and accountability.
v. Aboriginal equity positions in large-scale energy development projects on traditional Aboriginal lands should be encouraged and supported.
vi. The NWT Power Corporation should remain in public control, recognizing the benefits of a public corporation in providing affordable power and promoting a lasting legacy of renewable energy in the NWT.
vii. The GNWT should demonstrate leadership by diligently and responsibly taking actions to reduce its own consumption of energy.
2. What are the key decision criteria that the GNWT should use when deciding where to spend a limited budget for energy projects and programs?
3. What is your view on energy supply options in the NWT? Which options should the GNWT prioritize and why?
4. Should the GNWT continue to investigate and pursue new options for space heating in the NWT? What are your thoughts regarding potential options?
5. What further steps could the GNWT take to promote efficiency and conservation for NWT residents, businesses, community governments,
and organizations? Where is assistance most needed and most effective?
A few comments from “North of 56” :
- 1.Yes the principles are still relevant.
- 2.Key decision criteria that the GNWT should use re spending on energy projects. Please consider: a) whether previous investments in a technology have been cost effective. For example, if an investment in a particular project was wasteful, then do not invest more into that type of investment. b) GNWT should invest only in areas where market forces are not present.; c)GNWT should not subsidize energy costs directly. If the government wishes to give certain persons or organizations funding it should do so with transparent programs approved by the legislature.
- 3.The NWT should consider using more natural gas for a few reasons. First, the NWT has abundant natural gas—more than enough to supply all of Canada’s needs for 6 + years. So NWT needs to play to its strength. Second, as noted in the report, this commodity is cheap right now, and in the forseable future. Third, your next door neighbor, Yukon, is moving to use more LNG at its electrical facilities and mining projects. You can probably truck in LNG cheaper that diesel in many cases.
- 4. The GNWT should stay out of the ‘space heating’ business. It should concentrate on making its own buildings space efficient. As well, it should assist communities like Inuvik and Norman Wells to access natural gas. GNWT does not have the financial resources nor the capability to make consumers happy with their space heating costs.
- 5.The GNWT should encourage energy efficiency, conservation and investment through sensible programs. Assistance should be provided to projects that are ranked by net benefit. Avoid wasting scarce resources on unproven or ill thought out schemes. Do not subsidize ongoing energy costs as this is costly and fails to allow markets to function. I think more words/deeds on energy partnerships would be helpful—tap into expertise of the Colleges, Industry and First Nations. An example of this the Acho Dene Koe First Nation and Borealis GeoPower who are working on an “off the grid” smaller scale geothermal energy project. GNWT should encourage CNG facilities (compressed natural gas) to be built to expand this market.