Recent Developments in Renewable Energy in Remote Aboriginal Communities, Yukon, Canada

Konstantinos Karanasios, Paul Parker


Remote aboriginal communities in Canada’s Yukon Territory are undergoing a transition from carbon-intensive diesel generated electricity to low carbon, renewable sources of electricity. Hydroelectricity is the main source of power in the territorial grid so the extension of the grid and the addition of new hydroelectricity sources offers one path to low carbon electricity future for some communities. In more remote parts of the territory, wind, solar and smaller hydroelectric generation projects are considered to reduce diesel consumption and the associated greenhouse gas emissions. Yukon’s Climate Change Action Plan promotes cutting the carbon intensity of electricity. This paper reviews community electricity systems, past renewable electricity projects, as well as available renewable resources, generation alternatives, and policies, plans and proposed future projects that could help transform the supply of electricity in the remote communities. The transition to cleaner electricity systems also creates an opportunity for new investment models and development options where communities or private parties may replace public utilities as investors in new generation technologies. Government supports for the transition of communities from greenhouse gas intensive diesel generation to low carbon renewable sources of electricity include the microgeneration and Independent Power Producer policies. Initial success with small renewable energy projects in the remote Yukon communities is leading to additional and larger projects being planned.

Keywords: Yukon, remote aboriginal communities, indigenous communities, diesel, renewable electricity, energy transition, climate action policies

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