Minister Vandal announces renewable energy funding in Northern fly-in community of Old Crow

Led by the Vuntut Gwitchin Government and partners with support from the Government of Canada, the community is building from the momentum of Sree Vyàa (Old Crow Solar Project) to advance two significant projects

Old Crow, YT, Aug. 18, 2022 /CNW/ – As a remote Northern community, Old Crow is characterized by the strength, resiliency, determination and vision needed to prevail in often extreme conditions. This remoteness creates an intense bond between people and with the land, contributing to community spirit and a strong foundation of self-sustainability.

Today in Old Crow, the Honourable Daniel Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs, Minister for PrairiesCan and Minister for CanNor, and Dr Brendan Hanley, Member of Parliament for Yukon, met with, and congratulated the Vuntut Gwitchin Government (VGG), on Sree Vyàa (Old Crow Solar Project) and announced funding for two additional projects.

Since Old Crow flipped the switch on a 940-kilowatt solar array and 616-kilowatt battery energy storage system last summer, Sree Vyàa has reduced the community’s use of diesel for electricity, while creating training and skills opportunities for residents and generating income that can be invested in future clean energy initiatives and other community priorities. Sree Vyàa is an integral piece of Old Crow’s goal of net-zero emissions by 2030 and is the largest solar energy project of its kind in a remote Yukon community.

New Government of Canada investments support projects that build from the momentum of Sree Vyàa

During his visit, Minister Vandal announced an investment of over $400,000 through the Northern REACHE Program for the Old Crow Wind Project. Funding will support VGG in installing a metrological tower on Crow Mountain to assess the existing wind resources, which will determine the technical and financial feasibility of a wind project. Installation of the tower will take a low-impact approach, using local labour over heavy equipment.

While in the community, Minister Vandal also met with Porcupine Enterprises LP., a civil construction company linked to VGG, to announce CanNor funding of over $2 million, to support the design and build of the community’s first-ever Mechanical Facility. This two-year project will create capacity within the community to repair and maintain equipment such as snow machines, ATVs and the community school bus. This will reduce costs for businesses and residents, and it will enable local apprenticeship training in coordination with Yukon University’s red-seal apprenticeship programs.

Both of these community-led projects build from the momentum of Sree Vyàa by creating good local jobs, broadening options for renewable resource use, and creating opportunities to develop local skills and experience.

Quotes

“Much like the blueberries growing around Sree Vyàa, the solar panels converts the energy of the sun into a local, renewable energy source for our community. The Old Crow Solar Project is a constant inspiration to our nation as we continue on our path to carbon neutrality. The project is a concrete example of what we can accomplish when we work together to meet shared climate goals. We look forward to continuing this important collaboration with the Government of Canada.”

Chief Dana Tizya-Tramm

Vuntut Gwitchin Government



“Porcupine is extremely grateful to have received funding for our mechanical facility project from CanNor. We are dedicated to increasing infrastructure and providing jobs and training opportunities for the citizens of Old Crow.  As the first heated mechanical facility in the community, this project will strengthen the community as a whole.”

Ron Daub, Executive Director

Porcupine Enterprises Limited Partnership

“In the remote, far-North, of the Yukon, the Vuntut Gwitchin community of Old Crow is seeing the impacts of climate change and is taking action. Leading the way are the young people from the community who have the vision, ingenuity, determination and leadership that brought the Sree Vyàa to reality. This project creates the momentum for initiatives such as the Old Crow Wind Project and the Mechanical Facility, and it is generating a strong sense of community that I could see during my time in Old Crow. At a time when meeting climate change goals is so crucial, this exciting transition toward cleaner energy is inspiring and is based on the local needs, priorities, and realities of the community of Old Crow.”

The Honourable Daniel Vandal

Minister of Northern Affairs, Minister responsible for Prairies Economic Development Canada and Minister responsible for the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency

“This Vuntut Gwitchin-led solar project will help to ensure improved electricity reliability for Old Crow, Yukon, with a well-run battery storage system. Many northern and remote communities currently depend on diesel fuel to meet their energy needs. Building clean energy capacity and local solutions is crucial to reducing dependence on fossil fuels, while empowering communities to lead in the fight against climate change.” 

The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson

Minister of Natural Resources 



“The Government of Canada has supported the Old Crow Solar Project from day one. Since then, this project has demonstrated how a small community can take big action against climate change. The investments announced today for the Old Crow Wind Project and the Mechanical Facility will no doubt contribute to positive change for generations to come.”

Dr. Brendan Hanley

Member of Parliament for Yukon

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Related Information  

Vuntut Gwitchin Government 

Inclusive Diversification and Economic Advancement in the North (IDEANorth) 

Clean Energy for Rural and Remote Communities (CERRC) program 

Northern Responsible Energy Approach for Community Heat and Electricity (Northern REACHE) 

Polar Knowledge Canada

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SOURCE Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor)

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