Wally Schumann: Energy Initiatives Update

News Type: 
News Release

Delivered on November 1, 2018

Mr. Speaker, the Government of the Northwest Territories has made a mandate commitment to implement the 2030 Energy Strategy. This includes renewable and alternative energy solutions and actions that the GNWT and our partners will undertake to meet targets for greenhouse gas reductions in heating and power generation as well as a 10-year strategy for investing federal and other funding towards energy projects.

Later today, I will table the  Energy Initiatives Report 2017 - 2018, which provides an overview of the many energy initiatives completed last fiscal year by various government departments, crown corporations and partner agencies that support energy projects, programs and services for our residents, communities and Indigenous groups.

Our collaborative approach in these initiatives allows us to make the most of limited resources, and to achieve many of our mandate commitments.

Last spring the GNWT publicly released the 2030 Energy Strategy, along with the Climate Change Strategic Framework and the NWT Petroleum Resources Strategy.  Together, these documents are defining our long-term vision and approach to energy and climate change and will enable the NWT to transition to a strong, healthy economy that is less dependent on fossil fuels.

The 2017 - 2018 Energy Initiatives Report supports the strategic objectives outlined in these three documents, which Mr. Speaker, is reassurance that we’re on the right path.

Mr. Speaker, I’d like to highlight some of the noteworthy accomplishments in the Energy Initiatives Report 2017- 2018 and begin by sharing some of the projects that have advanced the GNWT’s mandate commitment to continue to develop and advance initiatives to displace diesel generation in the NWT, including biomass energy projects.

The Government of the Northwest Territories installed a biomass boiler system at École Allain St-Cyr School, which I toured earlier today.  This system will meet nearly 100 percent of the heating needs of the school. The system will save 115 thousand litres of diesel, or about 130 thousand dollars and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 306 tonnes per year. The GNWT also installed a 950 kilowatt biomass boiler at East Three School in Inuvik, making that school the first GNWT asset in the Beaufort Delta to install biomass heating. This system will offset approximately 270 thousand litres of propane or the equivalent of 410 tonnes of carbon dioxide. It will also provide an annual savings of close to 370 thousand dollars.

Last year also marked the 10th anniversary of the GNWT’s Capital Asset Retrofit Fund, known as CARF. As Members know, this program uses money saved through energy efficiency improvements to government buildings to fund further improvements. Over the last decade, CARF-supported initiatives that have effectively reduced greenhouse gas emissions from GNWT assets by over 10 thousand tonnes annually and have displaced the equivalent of 27 million litres of diesel fuel since the programs inception, representing a nearly 24 percent reduction in annual emissions.

Mr. Speaker, our government is also fulfilling our mandate commitment to displace diesel generation through wind energy projects, including the proposed Inuvik High Point Wind Project, and assessing the feasibility of wind energy projects in other communities or regions.

The GNWT is undertaking wind monitoring in Sachs Harbour to better understand wind resource potential in the High Arctic. We are also undertaking wind monitoring and data collection in Norman Wells, and collecting water flow information that could lead to a community-scale hydropower project in partnership with the community of Gamètı̀.

In 2017- 2018, work continued on the Inuvik Wind Project as part of the 2030 Energy Strategy target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from diesel electricity by 25 percent by the year 2030. To support this project, the GNWT has undertaken community outreach, including a Traditional Knowledge and Land Use Workshop in Inuvik with Gwich’in and Inuvialuit elders, land users and youth.

Mr. Speaker, looking forward, other strategic energy investments are taking shape.  For the first time, we have secured a long-term commitment from our federal partners to invest in energy infrastructure projects and incentive programs that are tailored to advance our policy objectives and deliver on mandate commitments.

This past March, the federal government committed to fund the GNWT with more than 570 million dollars over the next 10 years under the Investing in Canada Plan.  Approximately 350 million of that commitment will support the 2030 Energy Strategy and the Energy Action Plan.  Notable projects for which the GNWT submitted applications under the agreement include the megawatt-size wind turbine project in Inuvik, and overhauls to the aging Snare hydropower system. We look forward to providing Members with further updates on these projects in the very-near future.

Earlier this month, we also signed a 23 million dollar funding agreement as part of the federal Low Carbon Economy Leadership Fund. Part of this funding is being used to increase the Arctic Energy Alliance’s funding by approximately 9 million dollars over four years.

Remaining funds will be used to support the new Government Greenhouse Gas Grant Program, which was announced earlier this month and will provide up to     1.8 million dollars in grants per year for community governments to undertake greenhouse gas reduction projects.

Mr. Speaker, the Energy Initiatives Report 2017- 2018  is an excellent reference for those interested in learning how the GNWT has linked broad policy objectives to community projects and programs across the NWT over the last year and how it is helping the 18th Legislative Assembly fulfill mandate commitments. 

Looking forward, we are focused on leveraging the significant federal investments that we have secured to advance and fulfill our mandate commitments, reducing our infrastructure gap and ultimately improving the sustainability of our communities.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.