Bob McLeod: GNWT Response to the 2014 NWT Energy Charrette Report

Jun 4 2015

Mr. Speaker, the Government of the Northwest Territories is committed to a diversified economy that provides all communities and regions with opportunities and choices. Having an affordable, reliable and secure energy system that takes into account economic development and impacts to the environment is central to this goal.

In 2014 the Government of the Northwest Territories hosted its second Energy Charrette in response to concerns about increasing costs of energy, the low water level at the Snare hydroelectricity site, and the estimated costs to connect the North and South Slave transmission systems to the North American grid.

The 2014 Energy Charrette brought together the public, community representatives, stakeholders and experts to discuss what the Government of the Northwest Territories should do to reduce energy costs, increase energy security and reduce the environmental impacts of our energy system. Over 200 people attended the public event, and over 100 people attended the invitational stakeholder event. The Charrette featured 20 different speakers and presenters.

We heard that we should be more aggressive on energy efficiency and conservation, plan for increased development of small-scale community-based renewable energy projects, and continue to build biomass projects. Mr. Speaker, the government has prepared its response to the 2014 NWT Energy Charrette Final Report, which I will be tabling later today, at the appropriate time.

In this GNWT Response to the 2014 NWT Energy Charrette Report we have addressed what we heard during the charrette process. We are refocusing our short-term plans for this third year of the 2013 Energy Action Plan.
In the short-term we will focus on energy efficiency and conservation, both through the Arctic Energy Alliance and in government buildings. We will look at ways to improve the resilience of the North Slave hydro grid.

New community scale alternatives and renewable energy sources include:

  • The Colville Lake solar-battery-diesel project,
  • Wind feasibility studies in Inuvik and Yellowknife,
  • Potential solar projects on government buildings in Dehcho and Beaufort Delta communities,
  • Biomass boilers in schools, and
  • The potential for natural gas generation in thermal communities.

Our long-term goals will focus on transformational energy projects for communities and for potential new markets, which will require significant government investments, and will be presented for the consideration of the 18th Legislative Assembly.

This energy charrette process has been very successful and participants were very appreciative of having the opportunity to learn and voice their opinions on the future of the energy system in the Northwest Territories. I would like to personally thank everyone involved.

Mr. Speaker, our vision has always been strong individuals, families, and communities sharing the benefits and responsibilities of a unified, environmentally sustainable and prosperous Northwest Territories. Having a sustainable energy system in the Northwest Territories, which takes into account affordability, the economy, energy security and the environment is part of this vision.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.