We are often asked why a company such as ours that is in the business of selling electricity would be promoting energy conservation and efficiency. Shouldn’t we be encouraging people to use more electricity, not less?
The question came up again recently, after we told Yukoners that our electricity sales have dropped about five percent in the last two years…the same period of time that we and ATCO Electric Yukon jointly launched the inCharge electricity conservation program.
There are a number of reasons why energy conservation/efficiency continues to make sense for us and for Yukoners in general.
While we have seen a drop in electricity sales in 2013 and 2014, (primarily because of milder temperatures as opposed to our inCharge program), we expect that in the longer term, the trend will be towards growth in the territory and thus higher electricity consumption. Yukon Energy is working to find new short- to medium-term renewable energy options to meet that expected growth, and one of the most economical options is conservation/efficiencies. A megawatt saved is a megawatt that we don’t have to build.
Developing a conservation culture doesn’t happen overnight. People’s habits change slowly. Our inCharge program is helping to build awareness and creating new thought patterns that should, over time, result in significant energy savings. By starting now, even at a time when our sales are down, it should reap greater benefits a few years from now.
Finally, it’s the right thing to do. Just because we might, at certain times of the year, have an excess of renewable electricity, that doesn’t mean that we should not use it wisely. Energy conservation/efficiencies is good for the planet, and thus for all of us.
Another question that we sometimes receive from Yukoners is related to our natural gas plant that will be in service by late spring. We are asked if, once that facility is operating, we will continue to promote energy conservation.
The answer is yes, of course. The natural gas plant is being built purely as back-up, to be used during emergencies or during cold periods when we don’t have enough renewable power to meet demand. The natural gas units are merely replacing two old back-up diesel generations that must be retired. Yukon Energy remains at our core a renewable energy company, with 99.6 percent of our generation last year coming from hydro and wind, and we see energy conservation as one form of renewable energy that is readily available to Yukoners.
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