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Whither diesel What if the water never comes back Tuesday September 22 2015 7 INDUSTRY ENERGY cascade graphics Advertising solutions Book design Brochures posters Business cardsStationery Cerlox Binding Document Printing Faxing - SendingReceiving ID Photos for treaty cards FAC Invitations custom design Laminating Logo design Marketing solutions Photography Photocopying - Up to 11 x 17 colour and black white Promo material Scanning Posters Banners Stickers Magnets Wedding Party favours Call us at 867.872.3000 Email us at or or simply drop-in at 207 McDougal Rd Fort Smith NT We offer a range of custom design services that include We may have changed our look but we still offer all the quality products and services you are used to plus more. BY CRAIG GILBERT The GNWT has spent almost 50 million in two years covering the cost of diesel burned in place of hydroelectricity. Both times it was called a stopgap measure designed to prevent the Northwest Territo- ries Power Corporation from having to place a rate rider of up to 25 per cent on the bills of residents. Michael Miltenberger minister of nance and environment was quick to point out that the severe drought causing or con- tributing to the low water levels at the Snare and Bluesh hydro systems is wreaking eco- nomic havoc in jurisdictions up and down the Pacic Coast and across the Prairies. Fair enough but the drought is in its fourth year which begs the question How long can the GNWT cover the cost of powering the NWT with massive cheques for diesel What if the water never comes back RightoutofthegateregularMLAsincluding DarylDolynnyandBobBromleywerecriticalof the29.7millionpaymenttoNTPCannounced earlier this month and have been on Premier Bob McLeods case about alternatives for the long-term. Both believe the GNWT should be investing in renewable energy. Energy costs are the black hole question of the day for the NWT Dolynny told the Journal on Sept. 3. Bromley who isnt seek- ing re-election told the CBC the GNWT has sunk millions of dollars into one-off solutions with no return money that would be better spent subsidizing wind and solar projects. We are hoping the water is going to come back and through some miracle all the costs are going to go down or something he said. Wehavedonenothingintermsofinvestment. Bromley questioned the premier on the subject in the Legislature in March. McLeod replied that the government was at the time on schedule to respond to the recom- mendations made at the Energy Charette - a large-scalestakeholderforum-heldinNovember. At the same time we are doing a tremen- dousamountindevelopingalternative sources of energy McLeod said. We are the lead- ers in the country when it comes to biomass and other forms of renewable energy. I dont think that should be discounted. Bromley told the Journal on Sept. 21 solar makes more sense than diesel and the tens of millions of dollars being shelled out for fossil fuels could pay for a sustainable solution if it was instead spent on subsidies for consumers. Bumping up the subsidy to convince indi- viduals to install solar could easily offset the cost of diesel and would create that benet for the next 25 years all the solar equipment is guaranteed for 25 years now he said. There is a modest subsidy but if you reduced the payback from ten to seven or even ve years you could very well get enough to replace die- sel in that year and every year after. We need that kind of thinking but its very disappoint- ing that we havent done that feasibility. The Minister is on track but the government is very slow to do the work and its frustrating. Miltenberger told the Journal on Sept. 17 that the government knows paying 30 mil- lion for diesel every year is not sustainable economically or ecologically. We are hard at work looking at alterna- tives in terms of the generation capacity in the Yellowknife area and diesel-dependent communities around the NWT. What new technologies are out there The second Renewables in Remote Mi- crogrids conference took place in the capi- tal Sept. 15-17 the rst took place in Toronto in 2013. It was sponsored by Environment and Nat- ural Resources Bullfrog Power the Pembina Institute and Natural Resources Canada and attracted more than 100 leading experts community members manufacturers and researchers from across the United States and Canada. Amajorfocuswashelpingremoteindigenous communitiesgetoffdiesel.Miltenbergersaidthere are about 300 places in northern Canada that couldbenetfromgreentechnologyinthisway. We know we have to spend as a govern- ment tens upon tens of millions of dollars in the coming years to switch to renewables and get off diesel he said. Weve been working on that for the last three or four years. He added the government has in the works an expression of interest for green projects on the scale of one to ten megawatts in the Yellowknife area to respond to the urgency of the hydroelectricity shortage. We are denitely in a time of considerable change to the environment. Jim Sparling manager of climate change programs for Environment and Natural Re- sources takes a broad view of that consid- erable change. He does not share the concern expressed by Bromley and Dolynny arguing there is evidence the NWT has endured longer and deeper droughts than the current one. We dont know when the water comes back but theres a lot of evidence that there was a signicant ood-drought cycle more signi- cant than this one in the past 50 years he said. Using sediment cores in lakes or tree core samples we can see pretty signicant uctuations in past centuries and things have come back. Its always a ood-drought cycle. Things have come back. Its always a ood-drought cycle. Jim Sparling GNWT climate change programs manager