Hydrocube.org supports the following policies:
Yukon needs hydrogen fuel technology
There is not one mention of hydrogen in the Yukon’s 2020 – 2030 Ten Year Renewable Energy plan. So good luck driving those Tesla Model 3’s anywhere outside of Whitehorse or Yellowknife, when you get 40.8 kilometers for every hour of charging using a Level 2 charger. At least three major car manufacturers have hydrogen fuel cell vehicles already retailing in California and southern Canada.
All hydrogen sold in Yukon should be low or zero carbon, with the territory’s carbon pricing scheme fairly applied to penalize hydrogen derived from natural gas and benefit hydrogen electrolyzed from renewable energy (for more information about how hydrogen is made click here).
Triple (at least) the Yukon carbon tax
Starting at 4.4c/L gasoline tax in 2018 and increasing to 11.1c/L by 2022, the current carbon fuel tax is insufficient to change fuel use habits, according to Keith Halliday, Yukon News economist. We need more aggressive carbon pricing (with all of the money returned to taxpayers via an individual rebate and/or directly invested in renewable energy rebates). There should be NO EXEMPTIONS for politically favored sectors like airlines, or anything else, including rural communities who can carpool a lot more than we currently do. It will be tough, but people will adapt.
Reduce barriers to adoption of clean energy
Building safety compliance authorities can unwittingly be a barrier to adoption of climate change solutions. Government policies at every level of government should send the same clear message: that we want you to convert to renewable energy and the technology is safe (or at least as safe to you personally as the current use of gasoline and diesel). Inspectors should not “scare” away potential converts (often who lack energy literacy) by expounding too heavily on the dangers of renewable energy when talking to clients.
The Yukon is vast and income is varied and getting licensed electricians to do renewable energy is not feasible for everyone. Permits for small residential solar systems for DIY home owners should be issued online after the passing of an online test (to encourage those living off-grid to apply for and get permits).
Cost is also a barrier to many. It doesn’t make sense to have a flat $800/kW rebate for renewable energy generators when this covers about half the cost of material (solar panels) and does nothing towards the installation cost, which can be in the thousands or tens of thousands of dollars. A much more aggressive rebate is needed and a battery storage rebate would be nice too since the grid is already seeing intermittency issues and the utilities’ sluggish battery efforts are not keeping up with demand.
Save the salmon; stop building new dams
Yukon Energy is good at one thing: building major hydro dams and the power lines that connect them to clients. But salmon are increasingly endangered from climate change warming their rivers. Dams slow their upstream progress, significantly reduce fish passage rates (even with the largely ineffective fish ladders) and harm the overall ecosystem.
Yukoners are already opposing new hydroelectric projects. We have enough geothermal, biomass, solar PV and wind energy resources in Yukon to provide all the year round energy we need without having to build more dams. Current dams can be operated, but no new dams should be built and water should be spilled wherever possible in the increasingly hot summers to improve fish passage and survival during the climate emergency.