Green Energy, Better Option for Canadians in Arctic
by loganmericer on October 7, 2016 - 8:22pm
Article Title: Wind, solar energy real options for Canada's remote Arctic communities
Shifting away from dependence on non-renewable energy sources (i.e. diesel) to renewable sources (i.e. solar and wind) is not only better for the environment but also for Arctic community pocket books. Communities living in Canada’s Arctic have the greatest involvement in regards to this matter. Energy companies and government are also involved.
The article presents information that supports the switch to green energy sources. One issue that has potential issue of this switch is adhering to Qulliq Energy’s Corporation’s polices and approval procedures. An environmental concern regarding wind energy is the turbines causing migration interference for wildlife (i.e. caribou). The greatest problem when trying to switching energy sources is getting full involvement from communities. Change of energy sources needs to follow the bottom-up approach by starting with communities demanding the change. To ensure this switch is feasible communities need to convince the government to implement funds, grants, and provide loans for green energy projects to allow for these changes to proceed.
One solution is to change the way of thinking of individuals in the communities. There needs to be a solid understanding that a reduction in non-renewable energy benefits the environment as there resources will be reserved and there will be a reduction in carbon emissions. This switch will also provide major economic benefits due to lower operational and maintenance costs. To ensure operations run with minimal issues it is suggested in the article that communities learn from mistakes of others that have already gone through this process (i.e. Alaska).
The feasibility of this switch can be proven by the example of Arviat, where approximately 60% of community power can come green energy sources resulting in a reduction on diesel energy by 40%. This switch would save almost $2.4 million dollars over a 10 year period.
Canada is a settler’s society and our economy is mainly generated from extraction and gaining income from those resources. Aboriginal knowledge and belief is strongly invested in protection of the environment. It is my belief that these communities will therefore not oppose switching from dirty to clean energy. My reaction to this article is positive as non-renewable energy sources are now becoming less superior and green technologies now have the chance to change the energy market. I have hard feelings towards the government as there is a lack of fuel subsidies. It is well known that carbon emissions are a major threat for the future and in my opinion governments should be in full support of switching away from non-renewable energy. Governments should provide incentives to communities that make the better choice by choosing green energy. An issue not addressed in the article is potential loss of jobs in the long run. Green energy is independent and requires minimal maintenance. Therefore loss of jobs may be a result of this shift away from diesel. This would have negative impacts on the community such as finical stress and cognitive stress by dependence on government financial assistance. Community conflict may arise as a result due to different values on environmental protection and wanting to modernize. One aspect to address would be who would be gaining the finical savings is there is a switch in energy sources. There will be interest conflicts on industries wanting to benefit economically whereas communities might want to ensure the environment is protected or jobs are provided to community members.