Mr. Silver: Mr. Speaker, for many years, the Yukon Liberal Party has been advocating for the government to adapt an independent power producing policy or an IPP policy. This initiative was first promised by this government in 2009. Similar to the government’s promise to create a mental health strategy for example, the commitment to an IPP policy has been an empty promise for many years. This policy, if it came forward, would enable independent producers to generate power to help the territory to meet present and future power demands. It has been six years since this promise has been made. Last fall, the minister said that it would be — and I quote: “…in place sometime within the first six months of 2015”.
Mr. Speaker, that’s only two months away. So far, this is yet another item that falls under the “unfinished business” column for this current government. Will this latest deadline be met or are we looking for another delay?Read more
Last December Yukoners learned that yet another capital project managed by this Yukon Party government was over budget.
Yukoners were informed not by the Minister but by the President of the Yukon Energy Corporation that the new LNG facility being built in Whitehorse was $6.4 million or 18% over budget. We can add this to a long list of projects that have cost more than they were supposed to under this government’s not so watchful eye. The new estimated cost is $42.9 million.
When I raised this question in the legislature this week the Minister refused to accept any responsibility for this major cost overrun.Read more
Mr. Silver: I want to talk about this government’s vision on energy. It has been well known that, for many years, the Yukon Party government spent its time and resources planning to sell our energy futures to a private company from Alberta. Many fruitless years and a resignation later, Yukon Party 2.0 has decided to take a closer-to-home look to energy solutions.
For example, last year, the government funded a study to look at the viability of an electrical interconnection between Yukon and southeast Alaska. It was called the West Creek project. Last fall, the minister said that the report would be ready in February of 2015. When will that $250,000 report be released to the public?Read more
Mr. Silver: Last December, Yukoners learned that yet another capital project was mismanaged by this Yukon Party government and went over budget. Yukoners were informed, not by the minister, but by the president of the Yukon Energy Corporation, about the new LNG facility being $6.4 million — or 18 percent — overbudget.
We could add this to a long list of projects that have cost more than they were supposed to under this government’s not-so-watchful eye.
The new estimate cost, according to the president of the Energy Corporation, is $42.9 million. Can the minister tell Yukoners whether this is, in fact, the final cost, or whether he, as minister, accepts responsibility for this major cost overrun?Read more
Mr. Silver: In the summer of 2013, the Premier announced the government was moving forward on building a new hydroelectric dam. After the Yukon Party government and the former Energy, Mines and Resources minister spent several years trying to sell our hydro system to Alberta, this was a welcome change in direction.
However, from the first announcement, it took the government almost a full year to release a workplan for this project. That workplan, released in May of 2014 said — and I quote: “A next generation hydro project would likely be eight to 10 times the cost of the Mayo B hydro enhancement and transmission project.”
Mayo B cost $120 million. Can the minister confirm the government is looking at spending as much as $950 million to $1.2 billion on this new project?Read more
Mr. Silver: As far back as 2007, the Yukon Liberal Party has been advocating for the government to adapt an independent power policy or an IPP policy.
In that time, we have seen a lot of activity, including ministers being shuffled out of Energy, Mines and Resources, but we have yet to see an IPP policy. The holdup is the Yukon Party government, which has been talking about putting a policy in place for this for years now, but still has not completed the job. This is something industry and the Liberal caucus have been promoting for a number of years.
When will we see an IPP policy in place?Read more
Mr. Silver: Last week, the Yukon Utilities Board rejected parts of an application from Yukon Electrical Company Limited for new power generation in Watson Lake. The Utilities Board is currently looking at an application from Yukon Energy Corporation for a new LNG facility here in Whitehorse. In other words, it has not yet been approved. At the same time, YESAB is reviewing that project and has not issued an approval either. While these approvals remain up in the air, the government has gone ahead already and spent $17 million on the project, including more than $8 million to purchase the new LNG generators themselves.
Mr. Speaker, as we saw in Watson Lake last week, sometimes projects don’t get approved. Why has the government made such a huge financial commitment to a project that has yet to be approved? Are there any penalties involved if the government has to cancel some of the commitments that it has already made?Read more
Mr. Silver: Mr. Speaker, I have another question for the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources. The Yukon has depended on diesel fuel for energy production for many years. We have also known for many years that the now 45-year-old diesel generators would be in need of replacement. There was plenty of time for the government to research and to understand the different options available to provide this backup energy.
Why did it take the government so long to initiate a plan to replace the aging diesel generators, therefore eliminating some very valuable options?Read more
Mr. Silver: Last summer the Premier announced that the government was moving forward on building a new hydroelectric dam. After the Yukon Party government and the former energy minister spent several years trying to sell our hydro system to Alberta, this is a welcome change in direction.
However, since the formal announcement in November, there has been no word from this government on how it intends to proceed. Mr. Speaker, last fall the minister did ask the Yukon Development Corporation to start planning. He gave them a 90-day period to prepare a report. The minister should have had that report by late February. We did hear of an extension earlier this year, in the spring legislative session.
Has he received it and will he make it public?Read more
Hansard December 12, 2013
Mr. Silver: Earlier this sitting, I asked about the Premier’s July announcement that the government was working on a new hydroelectric dam. At the time, the Premier admitted that he had no specific project in mind and no idea when it might be built. He also had no idea where the money to build it was coming from. He did tell the Globe and Mail this summer that he thought the project would cost at least $100 million.Read more