The Arctic Energy Alliance has announced a range of improved energy rebates for NWT residents and businesses, following a leap in territorial government funding.
The Alliance, an energy-efficiency not-for-profit, said its new rebates were the best ever to be offered in the Northwest Territories.
They include increased rebates for energy-saving household products. Rebates for energy-efficient building improvements, or projects like the installation of solar panels, have in some cases more than doubled.
Mark Heyck, the former Yellowknife mayor turned executive director of the Arctic Energy Alliance, said the better deals would help the territory "become a climate leader."
In a statement, Heyck said: "We want to help people reduce their cost of living where we can. What better way to do that than to make energy efficiency a more affordable option, which will continue to save people money well into the future."
The money to make these upgrades comes from a $23 million federal funding contribution announced in October 2018, which included money for the Arctic Energy Alliance among a package of other, similar measures designed to boost northern energy efficiency.
In turn, the territorial government announced in November that the Arctic Energy Alliance would receive $9.12 million in funding over four years – almost doubling the group's budget, the territory said.
In a news release on Tuesday, the Alliance set out several areas in which NWT residents, businesses, and community governments can now receive improved rebates:
- Higher rebate amounts on LED lights and wood stoves (50 percent of the purchase price), and up to $200 or $400 – depending on your community – off the price of energy-efficient dryers, fridges, and freezers;
- A new program allowing homeowners access to rebates on insulation, windows, furnaces, boilers, and air sealing if making larger-scale renovations;
- Rebates of up to $50,000 for businesses and community governments improving the energy efficiency of their buildings;
- Non-profit organizations can now access rebates that previously weren't available to them; and
- Better rebates if you install renewable energy systems like solar panels or wood pellet boilers (up to $25,000 for residents or $50,000 for businesses, community governments, and non-profits.
More information: Arctic Energy Alliance programs guide
The Arctic Energy Alliance also said businesses and community governments in Fort Smith, Fort Resolution, and Hay River were eligible for rebates based on "a reduced Taltson hydropower electricity rate designed to encourage electric heat uptake."
For NWT residents, dealing with some of the highest power costs in Canada, any step toward readily accessible, meaningful energy rebates is likely to be welcomed.
The NWT Power Corporation is in the process of applying for its latest increase to residents' rates, stating high diesel costs were forcing it to ask regulator the Public Utilities Board for a rate hike.
Mark Heyck, the former Yellowknife mayor, now leads the Arctic Energy Alliance. Read our mayoral exit interview from September 2018, in which he discusses his new job.
However, for the territorial and federal governments, the more pressing reason to implement these rebates is a commitment to achieving significant emissions reductions by 2030.
The territorial government's energy strategy demands a 15 percent increase in building energy efficiency by 2030, with 40 percent of heating coming from renewable sources by then – double the current figure.
Tucked away at the foot of Tuesday's news release, the Arctic Energy Alliance acknowledged it was now applying the full force of its funding to projects which would reduce emissions and help the territory to meet its target.
"Funding is limited to projects and rebates that result in greenhouse gas emissions reductions. Grid-connected renewable electricity projects in hydropower communities will no longer be funded," the news release stated.
In essence, that means funding for solar projects no longer exists in Yellowknife, Hay River, Fort Smith, Dettah, Ndilo, Fort Resolution, Behchokǫ̀, and Enterprise.
That funding stream was terminated last November following the federal and territorial announcements.