Yukon encourages green energy generation

WHITEHORSE, YUKON - The Yukon government says it plans to encourage citizens to sell their own solar and wind energy to the territory's power grid, but critics say green energy generation is too costly to pay for itself.

The territorial government announced a draft "net-metering" policy that would allow people who generate their own electricity from renewable sources to add their surplus energy to the grid.

Those who do contribute surplus electricity would get a credit that can be used when their own energy supplies fall short and they need to plug into the grid.

Manon Moreau, a senior planner with the territorial Energy, Mines and resources Department, said the program will encourage people to consider "looking at more renewable energy, looking at diversifying our electricity supply."

Moreau said the details need to be worked out with power companies and the Yukon Utilities Board before the policy comes into effect.

But Randy Clarkson, who has been working on small-scale energy projects for the past two decades, said the Yukon government's program won't really benefit Yukoners.

"The problem with putting up your own windmill or your own solar power is that you have to buy some fairly expensive electronics to interlock with the utility," Clarkson said.

"You would also find that the cost of generating power on a small scale like that is more expensive than what you could buy from the utility."

Yukoner Peter Becker said he has been interested in generating green energy at home, but he can't do it without some financial incentives.

"If you have solar panels, if you have a small wind plant, you don't burden society with huge ecological costs, as it happens with diesel generation, as it happens with hydro projects," Becker said.


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