Wind power provides a clean alternative energy source in the North America Arctic.
Photo: The Arctic Institute, design by Sarah Battle
In March 2017, The Arctic Institute in partnership with Yukon College, the Pacific Northwest Economic Region (PNWER), and Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, with support from the U.S. Mission to Canada held a two-day workshop in Whitehorse, Yukon on the future of Arctic entrepreneurship. Bringing together dozens of interested stakeholders, the workshop featured roundtable discussions, based around the foundational dimensions that make a successful renewable energy project, namely, (1) How to overcome technical challenges to develop a project; (2) How stakeholders ensure Indigenous and community engagement; (3) How to ensure the financial commitment necessary for a project; and (4) How policy is either changed or enhanced to promote small-scale renewable energy projects.
Working with experts, academics, government officials, Indigenous leaders, and energy practitioners, the symposium between Canadian and American participants facilitated a much-needed best practice sharing of how to move the Arctic towards a green, innovative economy. The infographic available for download below highlights basic information and takeaways from one of the four roundtable discussions on Wind Energy.
Workshop Takeaways on Wind Energy
Planning & Policy
- Plan development & implementation of project based on well-funded technical, economic, and social feasibility study.
- Don’t duplicate work that has already been done – share success stories from other communities.
- Tie Northern wind energy development with national greenhouse gas emission targets.
- Be clear on local benefits, challenges, and further opportunities at the start of planning.
- Get the entire community on board, even if it means going door to door for tea time.
- Every community is different. Take the time to get to know the local context.
- Community engagement must be a two-way dialogue, not a sales pitch.
- Having a community champion, someone who loves the wind project, is vital to success.
Financing & Technology
- Co-benefits of sharing energy systems with industrial sites like mines can lower risk and costs.
- 100% community ownership can help with 100% community buy-in.
- Creating school-based technical assistance programming can engage youth and build inclusive maintenance skills simultaneously.
- Look for low cost, innovative solutions to tech issues. Thermal electric heaters like super-heat ceramic bricks that slowly release heat into homes can provide a battery storage alternative.
Bottom Line: What’s needed?
- Funding for construction and built infrastructure is just as important as research funding – and everyone needs more of it
- More access to capital through public grants, public private partnerships, & green banks
- Share data online from other projects, to both open source failures and provide more models that work and can be brought to scale.
This is our first installment on renewable energy in and for the Arctic. You can find other infographics below: