Friday, April 22, 2011

Yukon's Current Energy Levels

Inspired by the excellent energy usage charts now online at Yukon Energy's website (, I wanted to create a graphic that showed how much energy we left in our "batteries" - that is how much water is left in our reservoirs for renewable energy production.   See below:

The percentages shown are based on the water level remaining in the Yukon's three main water storage lakes (Marsh, Mayo and Aishihik) from Water Survey of Canada's real-time data multiplied by the energy generated by that stored water.  So, this is a pretty accurate measure of how much total energy we have left in storage. 

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Local Economic Leakage from Fossil Fuel Usage

Inspired by the film "Economics of Happiness" hosted on Friday by Transition Whitehorse, I thought I'd look at how much money we are shipping out of the Yukon from using fossil fuels. Specifically:

how much could be re-invest in the Yukon's economy if we used locally produced energy?

Based on 2009 energy usage data for the Yukon, and current fossil fuel prices, we lost:
  • $30 million / year in heating oil (26 million litres were used at a current price of $1.17/L);
  • $7 million / year in propane for heating (7.2 million litres were used at a current price of $0.98/L);
  • $2.5 million / year in diesel to generate electricity (2.5 million litres at an assumed price of $1/L); and
  • $114 million / year in vehicle fuel (87.5 million litres were used at a current price of $1.299/L).
In total, that is $154 million / year spent on fossil fuels, the majority of which was lost to the Yukon's economy.

Looking at the $37 million spent on space heating alone ($30 million in oil and $7 million in propane), this is delivered-energy equivalent to 256 GWh/yr with a weighted average price of $0.147/kWh.  Surely for this price and quantity we could supply this from our locally abundant renewable resources, such as hydro, biomass (wood and/or pellets) and wind, thereby re-capturing all of this expenditure to the Yukon's economy?  And it's carbon-neutral as a bonus.

Now, I'm no economist, so perhaps someone who understands these matters more can comment here, but as I see it re-capturing $37 million in leakage from the Yukon's economy is equivalent to a 2.2% increase in the Yukon's GDP.  In 2009, the Yukon was Canada's poster child for economic growth with an GDP growth of just 1.4%.  What an easy GDP boost--stop sending money Outside for fossil fuels, buy Local Energy!

Any current or aspiring politicians listening for an easy win?

Friday, April 8, 2011

Photos from inside Whitehorse's Most Energy Efficient Home

Thanks to Richard for the awesome photography. Click on the photo to go the full photo gallery:
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