Wally Schumann: 2030 Energy Strategy

May 29, 2018
Ministers' Statements and Speeches

Delivered on May 29, 2018

Mr. Speaker, the Government of the Northwest Territories made a mandate commitment to implement a new NWT Energy Strategy that would include renewable and alternative energy solutions and actions that this government and its partners will undertake to meet targets for greenhouse gas reductions.

Earlier this month the GNWT publicly released its 2030 Energy Strategy, along with the Climate Change Strategic Framework and the NWT Petroleum Resources Strategy.  Together, these documents define our long-term vision and approach to energy and climate change and will enable the NWT to transition to a strong, healthy economy that is less dependent on fossil fuels.

The 2030 Energy Strategy sets the course for a more secure, affordable and sustainable energy system, and contributes to the economic, social, and environmental well-being of the territory and its residents.

Mr. Speaker, this Strategy identifies six key strategic objectives designed to address the cost of living, energy reliability, and climate change.  These objectives provide a firm basis with which to engage and empower communities to participate in finding energy solutions. The Strategy sets achievable sectoral targets, including a twenty-five percent reduction in diesel use in our remote communities. Other targets include increasing the share of renewable energy used for space-heating to forty percent, achieving a fifteen percent reduction in energy use for buildings, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector by ten percent.

Mr. Speaker, to achieve the objectives outlined in the Strategy the Government of the Northwest Territories through the Department of Infrastructure has developed a rolling Three-Year Energy Action Plan that identifies specific actions and initiatives that this government will undertake. The Action Plan identifies approximately $200 million to be spent by the Government of the Northwest Territories and its partners over the next three years. Investments will be made towards a variety of initiatives, including partnering with community and Indigenous governments in local renewable energy projects; investing in a major wind turbine project in Inuvik; enhancing Arctic Energy Alliance programs; and supporting greenhouse gas emission reductions from industrial emitters through a new grant program.

To achieve success in these initiatives we must establish effective partnerships with the federal government, the NWT Housing Corporation, the Arctic Energy Alliance, and the NWT Power Corporation, as well as with communities, businesses, and industry.

Mr. Speaker, while we undertake these short-term initiatives, the 2030 Energy Strategy will also serve as a guide to develop a lower carbon economy over the long term.  With these actions, the Northwest Territories will continue to do our part to help Canada meet its international commitments.

To achieve transformative reductions in our emissions, we will need substantial projects like the Taltson Hydropower Expansion.  This project would increase power generation and connect our Snare and Taltson hydro systems, providing electricity consumers to the north and south of Great Slave Lake with plentiful clean and renewable energy.  Transmission lines could ultimately be extended southward to join the continental electrical grid and northward to link to the vast resources of the Slave Geological Province.  Hydropower and transmission line development will enhance energy security for present consumers, build capacity to serve future consumers, provide investment opportunities for Indigenous partners, and support local economic development and job creation.

Mr. Speaker, it is abundantly clear that we must reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to a changing climate.  But we must balance this requirement with sustainable resource development and clean economic growth. The 2030 Energy Strategy is part of the Government of the Northwest Territories’ overarching approach to achieve this balance. By implementing the 2030 Energy Strategy in concert with the Climate Change Strategic Framework and the NWT Petroleum Resources Strategy, we will support innovative solutions to provide renewable energy to communities and industry and ensure the social, economic and environmental well-being of NWT residents now and into the future.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.