Whitehorse - The Yukon Hospital Corporation (YHC), Yukon Energy, and the territory as a whole are all benefitting from a program that makes use of surplus renewable electricity. Whitehorse General Hospital recently re-joined the Secondary Sales Program after a hiatus of a few years.
The program gives eligible Yukon businesses the option of using renewable power to heat their facilities instead of more expensive, GHG producing fossil fuels. It is priced at a discount to heating oil, saving participating companies about 30 percent on their heating bills. It provides Yukon Energy with a revenue stream that helps keep rates affordable for other electric customers, and it lowers Yukon's greenhouse gas emissions.
Whitehorse General Hospital used the secondary sales program from 2003 to 2010, but that tapered off with the limited availability of surplus renewable energy. Now that it has re-joined the program, the hospital estimates heating costs could be reduced by $100,000 this year alone.
“Our heating system provides steam and hot water that support many of the hospital’s vital needs, including space heating and a variety of processes such as laundry and instrument sterilization,” Yukon Hospital Corporation’s CEO Jason Bilsky said. “Using renewable energy whenever possible makes sense as it not only reduces our environmental footprint and significantly cuts costs, but it also directly supports our role in ensuring quality health care for Yukoners.”
To qualify for the program, businesses must have or install a second electrically fired heating system, and acknowledge that the secondary power is interruptible during times when renewable electricity is not available.
A key component is that the company be connected via computer to Yukon Energy’s system control centre, so that the business can be automatically turned on and off based on the availability of surplus renewable power.
“Yukon Energy’s sales have dropped in the last two years, in large part because of warmer temperatures,” Yukon Energy president Andrew Hall said. “This program gives us the opportunity to make up some of that lost revenue, so we can keep rates affordable for other ‘firm’ electricity customers.”
“The secondary sales initiative also provides opportunities to reduce fossil fuel use in the territory. In this regard, it’s a win for the entire Yukon,” Hall added.
There is currently one other automated secondary sales customer – the Canada Games Centre. In 2014, the Centre has been able to access secondary sales approximately 97 percent of the time, saving Whitehorse taxpayers close to $100,000 in heating costs.
Yukon Energy hopes to add one or two more automated secondary sales customers in the coming months.
Yukon Energy Corporation