The 2014/2015 Public Works and Services Energy Conservation Projects Annual Report published in June 2015, is both a retrospective of what the Government of the NWT has achieved since annual reporting first began, and an overview of important changes we have made to support this work going forward.
During the life of the 17th Legislative Assembly, finding energy solutions and focusing on energy conservation and technology have become an integral part of how government operates. Since the first biomass project in 2007, we have worked to set targets, create guidelines, and develop both outward and inward energy strategies. We are now entering into a “new normal” of how government operates.
In the 5 years since the Department of Public Works and Services first started reporting on its energy conservation activities, the GNWT has progressively improved its energy performance in a number of important areas including:
- Generating cumulative operational savings of $8 million;
- Reducing GNWT energy usage in major assets such as schools by up to 15% and overall energy usage in government assets by 5%;
- Reducing our dependence on fossil fuel for heating buildings by 3.5 million litres annually, which is equivalent to 9,500 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions;
- The installation of 18 large commercial biomass boiler systems, nine in the last year alone, increasing our wood pellet usage by 86% in a single year;
- Establishing the Capital Asset Retrofit Fund Program which now produces over $1.7 million in annual operational savings as the program is quickly becoming self-sufficient in funding future energy projects; and,
- Incorporating opportunities for alternative and renewable energy as part of the planning for all new building projects coming forward for consideration in the GNWT’s annual Infrastructure Acquisition Plan.
Operationally, this means a new set of practices, procedures and considerations which prioritize energy efficiency and conservation in the design, construction and operation of all new government buildings have become standardized over the course of this government.
The 17th Legislative Assembly has also taken steps to ensure the GNWT is positioned to build upon the successes of the past several years by bringing our energy programs together and creating a focal point for energy policy, initiatives and management within our government.
On April 1st, 2015, the new Energy Activity of PWS was established, bringing together energy expertise from across government. Combining the project management, planning, fuel services and building operations expertise of PWS with those areas of government focused on policy development and promotion of renewable energy solutions means the GNWT is better positioned to respond to future opportunities in the planning and management of our energy needs.
Mr. Speaker, with a flat revenue outlook and a need to take a hard look at how we are spending our money in coming years, operating effectively and efficiently is more important than ever. Continuing energy conservation efforts will be an important part of that. At the same time, our newly consolidated Energy Activity can contribute to government work in addressing the high cost of living through continued public education and information sharing, identification of energy options and policy development.
Going forward, the 18th Legislative Assembly will be better positioned than ever to support energy conservation and efficiency efforts and to assist the public in benefitting from what we have learned as a government.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.