Provincial & Territorial Ministers Working Together to Reduce Use of Diesel for Electricity in Remote Communities
Partners in Manitoba, Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador, The Northwest Territories, Yukon, and Ontario to Find Opportunities to Support Remote Communities
The governments of Manitoba, Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador, The Northwest Territories, Yukon, and Ontario are establishing a Pan-Canadian Task Force to reduce the use of diesel fuel to generate electricity in remote communities. Manitoba Municipal Government Minister Drew Caldwell, Quebec Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Pierre Arcand, Newfoundland and Labrador Minister of Natural Resources Derrick Dalley, Northwest Territories Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment David Ramsay, Yukon Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources Scott Kent, and Ontario Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli announced this historic agreement today.
This agreement comes directly following the Council of the Federation’s announcement of the Canadian Energy Strategy, a demonstration of a shared commitment to strengthening the economy, creating jobs, ensuring a secure supply of energy for all Canadians, supporting energy innovation, and addressing climate change.
Together the Ministers encourage all Canadian governments to join in this new project to support remote communities.
Reducing or eliminating diesel use in these communities would reduce harmful emissions, strengthen local economies, and create well-paying jobs. The creation of the task force supports requests from communities for cleaner and more economical energy solutions.
In Canada, there are nearly 300 off-grid communities with a total population of approximately 200,000 people. These communities include Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal settlements, villages or cities as well as long-term commercial outposts and camps for mining, fishing and forestry activities. Of these sites, approximately 175 are indigenous communities (First Nations, Innu, Inuit or Métis) with approximately 130,000 residents.
The Pan-Canadian Task Force will be chaired by Manitoba, and consist of officials from each of the provincial and territorial ministries and agencies that have policy responsibility for electricity supply in remote off-grid communities and remote off-grid aboriginal communities.
The main objective of the task force will include preparing a joint report that examines:
- outlining approaches that are currently being used or considered for eliminating the use of diesel in remote communities, including grid connection or alternative energy solutions
- sharing information about remote communities, including communities with potential for grid connection, within their respective jurisdictions, including government/agency involvement as well as potential savings that can be achieved;
- describing efforts that have been or are currently underway to reduce diesel use in remote communities, including the policy frameworks guiding these activities;
- identifying opportunities for collaboration between jurisdictions to further explore these ideas, including planning and implementing pilot projects using shared resources; and
- identifying risks and providing risk mitigation suggestions and strategies.
The report will also make recommendations on next steps. Manitoba will host the first meeting of the task force to bring participants together to share information and begin discussions on the use of diesel fuel in remote communities.
This work will also benefit from upcoming discussions being held during the Renewables in Remote Microgrids Conference being held in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories on September 16-17, 2015.
The new task force also builds on a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed in early 2014 by the premiers of Manitoba and Ontario, as well an MOU between Ontario and Québec signed to collaborate and share experiences on electricity systems options for remote First Nation communities in Ontario and off-grid communities in Québec.
Energy in the off-grid communities has also been identified as a priority under the Council of the Federation’s Canadian Energy Strategy.
“Many remote communities that are not on Canada’s main electricity grid can only use expensive and greenhouse gas-emitting diesel fuel to generate electricity. Establishing this task force will allow us to share ideas and partner on projects that can help remote communities reduce their reliance on diesel fuel.”
Minister Drew Caldwell
“Bringing renewable energy to the off-grid communities has been a preoccupation in Quebec for a long time. Many partnerships, studies and projects have been conducted in this regard, but it still remains a great challenge. That’s why the Quebec government is proud to join this initiative in line with our orientations. Working together to share expertise will strengthen our respective views on how to tackle greenhouse gas emissions, reduce energy bills and create new clean and green opportunities to these communities.”
Minister Pierre Arcand
“We are very pleased to work with our colleagues in an effort to reduce the use of diesel in remote communities. The Provincial Government and Nalcor Energy – the province’s crown corporation for developing the province’s energy resources – have undertaken alternative energy studies in our diesel communities throughout the province. We feel the work of this task force could be beneficial for the province’s communities and residents and we look forward to the exchange of ideas and information between provinces and territories.”
Minister Derrick Dalley
“With electricity prices of 55 cents per kilowatt hour in our remote communities, the Government of the Northwest Territories is committed to finding innovative solutions to meet the energy requirements of our communities in a sustainable and affordable manner. Sustainable communities and development in Canada’s north is important for all Canadians.”
Minister David Ramsay
“The Yukon is excited to be part of this National Task Force. The work of this group is a unique opportunity for northerners to assist our remote communities with their energy consumption and strengthen their long-term resiliency and sustainability.”
Minister Scott Kent
“Ontario is committed to working with neighbouring provinces to find ways for remote communities to get off diesel using both grid connection and non-grid solutions. This new, Pan-Canadian Task Force we are forming is yet another early outcome of the work done at the recent Council of the Federation to establish a Canadian Energy Strategy. Provincial and Territorial Ministers will work together to achieve real results and solutions for Canada's remote and first nation communities.”
Minister Bob Chiarelli