The Government of Yukon and five Yukon First Nations attended the Alaska-Yukon Wood Energy Conference in Fairbanks, Alaska from April 15 to 16. This followed a tour of four Yukon biomass facilities and systems currently in operation.
The Government of Yukon organized the tour as part of a larger multi-year initiative focused on enhancing biomass capacity among Yukon First Nations. The initiative aims to increase Indigenous participation in the forest sector, enhance overall competitiveness of the forest economy, displace diesel for heat and energy in northern and remote Indigenous communities, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
For a territory of 40,000 people Yukon has an impressive and rapidly growing biomass industry. We have considerable knowledge and expertise to share, and this partnership with Alaska and First Nations is important for exchanging valuable information about biomass heating in the North. These initiatives promote Indigenous economic development, support the growth of Yukon’s biomass industry and will help reduce the Yukon’s reliance on non-renewable energy sources.
– Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources Ranj Pillai
Protecting and developing our natural resources and strengthening our economy is part of our mission statement stated by our Elders and this is a great opportunity to do so. With the biomass heating system, we will eventually be looking at developing a local sustainable forestry industry for our Citizens that is environmentally friendly.
– Deputy Haa Shaa du Hen of Carcross/Tagish First Nation Maria Benoit
Kluane First Nation has a long-standing commitment to renewable energy which includes installing a district heating system in 1998. This is the longest running district heating system in the Yukon and it has allowed us to reduce our reliance on diesel, to develop additional renewable energy opportunities and has supported a traditional economy in our community. We are pleased to see other First Nations and communities commit to biomass and we look forward to sharing our knowledge, while learning from others who are dedicated to the renewable energy transition.
– Chief of Kluane First Nation Robert Dickson
We welcome people who are interested in learning about our biomass system. We have done our research and we continue to learn. We are proud to share that knowledge. Since we started the biomass project in 2017, we’ve hosted several tours.
– Naa Shaáde Háni of Teslin Tlingit Council Richard Sidney
We are eager to develop a biomass district system for the Tr’ondëk Subdivision. Renewable energy has been our focus, and as stewards of the land, we will source more of our energy needs in a sustainable way. We will become a part of the energy production industry. We have a good chance to learn from others in the Yukon, so it may be easier for us to implement.
– Chief of Trond’ëk Hwëch’in Roberta Joseph
The Carcross /Tagish First Nation, Champagne and Aishihik First Nations, Kluane First Nation, Teslin Tlingit Council and Trond’ëk Hwëch’in participated in the biomass facility tour that started on Thursday, April 11.
The tour included a visit to a biomass district heating system in Teslin, a pellet mill in Haines Junction, Yukon Garden’s waste wood heated greenhouses in Whitehorse, and a biomass heating system in Burwash Landing.
An Alaskan delegation joined the Yukon tour group in Alaska where they observed biomass energy systems and technologies in various communities.
The tour is part of a larger multi-year initiative funded by the Government of Canada’s Strategic Partnership Initiative – Indigenous Forestry Initiative. The Government of Canada invested $945,000 and the Government of Yukon invested $95,000 for a total of $1.04 million to implement nine biomass-related projects over the next three years.
The capacity enhancement initiative aims to increase Indigenous participation in the forest sector, enhance overall competitiveness of the forest economy, displace diesel for heat and energy in northern and remote Indigenous communities, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.