Energy Inventory fuels push for alternatives to diesel in three Yukon communities
BURWASH LANDING - Residents in three Yukon communities are eager to be done with diesel and shift to renewable energy sources to heat and power their lives.
This is the major finding of researchers from the Yukon Research Centre (YRC) at Yukon College and Kluane First Nation (KFN) after conducting an extensive energy and emissions inventory in Burwash Landing, Destruction Bay and Silver City.
"We had fantastic participation from the communities. People really wanted to talk about this," said Lisa Christensen, researcher at the YRC.
"This has enabled us to create a strong report that reflects their energy values and concerns as well as comprehensive data on their energy consumption that will support energy-related decision making and future projects."
Christensen and Janice Dickson from KFN interviewed two thirds of residential households, most commercial operators and all government operators between January and April 2012.
They found that many people were proud of existing renewable energy efforts, like the district heating system in place at KFN – four government buildings connected to a single wood chip boiler. Community members were also eager to share their own tips and suggestions for how they can all do better to reduce their energy consumption, which have been included in the final report.
Results of the inventory were presented back to the three communities over the summer and KFN Environment Officer, Colin Wright, found them pretty eye-opening.
"Even when you know you use a lot of fuel, it’s still pretty shocking for everyone to see it laid out with dollar amounts attached," said Wright
The study found that the three communities spend almost half a million dollars each year on gas and diesel fuel for transportation alone. Much of this due to residents having to trek all the way to Whitehorse each month for groceries – a round trip of over 500 kilometers.
Wright said that KFN is determined to not let the information gathered sit on the shelf. KFN is already moving ahead with two renewable energy projects this summer and has used some of the data to support several energy-related funding applications.
KFN Public Works has conducted test drilling in Burwash Landing in August to find a suitable source of geothermal energy for the community, and a one-year monitoring station has been set-up to provide data for a proposed wind power project of three wind turbines to be erected in 2014.
"The wind monitoring is really just to confirm existing data from Yukon Energy and Yukon Government projects in the 1980’s and 90s,” said Wright. “We believe these three turbines could supply thirty per cent of our current energy requirements."
Both Wright and Christensen hope other Yukon communities and First Nations will use the information and methodology contained in the report to conduct their own energy inventories and find ways to use and produce energy more wisely.
The Community Energy and Emissions Inventory can be found online at: www.yukoncollege.yk.ca/downloads/Community_Energy_and_Emissions_Inventory.pdf
For more information, contact:
867 668 8786
867 332 4722
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