Public feedback on NWT’s energy and climate future released

News Releases

Yellowknife — March 28, 2024

Public feedback on the 2030 Energy Strategy and the 2030 NWT Climate Change Strategic Framework, including the Northwest Territories (NWT) greenhouse gas emissions reduction target, has been released.

Our Energy and Climate Future in a Changing World compiles insights from public engagement conducted by the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) between June and October 2023. The GNWT sought feedback for potential revisions to the approach to energy and climate mitigation issues, and discussed what changes, if any, should be made to the NWT emissions reduction target.

Opportunities for feedback included a public submission period, in-person meetings and a three-day, in-person multilateral dialogue with 148 representatives from Indigenous governments and Indigenous organizations, the NWT Climate Change Council, the NWT Climate Change Youth Council, as well as non-governmental organizations, utilities, industry, businesses and the territorial and federal governments.

Participants generally agreed to the following five points during the engagement:

  1. Increase the Emissions Reductions Target – The NWT should raise its level of climate effort, and possibly adjust its 2030 emissions reduction target and/or set a long-term emissions reduction target to guide its efforts beyond 2030.
  2. Revise Roles and Responsibilities – Indigenous governments and Indigenous organizations want to be more involved in making decisions on energy and climate change, especially when it comes to setting emissions reduction targets. A renewed Energy Strategy should articulate clear roles and responsibilities for all parties involved in the energy transition.
  3. Economy and Affordability are Key – The energy transition will greatly impact the economy, jobs and cost of living in the NWT. The GNWT needs a realistic plan to deploy clean energy infrastructure that will shield Northerners from increases in energy costs. The availability of federal funding will be key to achieve this.
  4. Utilities Will Play a Critical Role – The utility regulator, electrical utilities, the GNWT, and interested Indigenous governments and Indigenous organizations should work together to develop appropriate planning, regulatory, and policy tools to enable the transition of the NWT electricity system over the coming decades.
  5. Leverage Known, Proven Technologies – Most of the technological solutions to decarbonize NWT energy systems are well known to Northerners (e.g., solar, wind, hydropower, biomass) and increased deployment would be dependent on factor such as local capacity, affordability and energy security. Emerging technological options, such as small modular nuclear reactors, liquid biofuels or hydrogen, could be added to the mix in the future, after the technologies become commercially available and have been properly tested for use in northern applications.

The GNWT will use this feedback to inform its review of the 2030 Energy Strategy and 2030 NWT Climate Change Strategic Framework, including any potential revision to the NWT emissions reduction target. Ultimately, this feedback will help inform a course to an energy and climate future where Northerners have continued access to secure, affordable, and sustainable energy in a healthy environment.

As a companion to this report, the GNWT is also releasing a booklet entitled A Visual Summary of What We Heard During the Multilateral Dialogue, which gathers visual minutes recorded by graphic artist Alison McCreesh during the three-day multilateral dialogue that took place in July 2023 in Yellowknife.


“As the pathways to a lower carbon future and secure, affordable and sustainable energy in the NWT evolve, so must the strategy that guides our approach. With the input received through multiple engagement opportunities, we have an exciting opportunity to shape the future of our energy landscape and be adaptive to emerging technologies and new opportunities. Looking ahead, I am confident we can achieve the vision of the Energy Strategy with governments, residents and businesses working together.”

- Caroline Wawzonek, Minister of Infrastructure


“Addressing climate change can only be done by working together, which can only be done by listening to one another. This initiative ensures that the voices of Indigenous governments and Indigenous organizations, communities, partners, industry, not-for-profit organizations and residents of the NWT are heard. We will continue to collaborate on climate action in the NWT and support northern solutions for more climate-resilient communities.”

- Jay Macdonald, Minister of Environment and Climate Change


Quick facts:

  • Released in 2018, the 2030 Energy Strategy and the 2030 NWT Climate Change Strategic Framework collectively advance a GNWT commitment to reduce NWT greenhouse gas emissions by 30% from 2005 levels by 2030. The Strategy sets out the GNWT’s long-term approach to supporting secure, affordable and sustainable energy in the NWT, and is, along with the NWT Carbon Tax, the main instrument for reducing NWT greenhouse gas emissions in line with the 2030 emissions reduction target.
  • The GNWT committed to reviewing the Strategy and Framework after five years.
  • The engagement was supported by a discussion guide as well as an independent study looking at various potential low-carbon pathways in the NWT, including the technological and economic implications of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050.
  • In addition to in-person engagement attended by 148 participants, the GNWT received 152 pages of feedback representing 16 written submissions and 2,500 visitors to the engagement portal.

Relevant links:

For media requests, please contact:
Infrastructure Communications
Government of the Northwest Territories


Environment and Climate Change Communications
Government of the Northwest Territories