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    Canadian Utilities and Vuntut Gwitchin Complete Landmark Solar Project in Yukon

  • Aug 23, 2021

    The Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation and Canadian Utilities, an ATCO company, have completed Canada's most northerly off-grid solar project in the remote Yukon community of Old Crow.

    The Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation and Canadian Utilities Limited, an ATCO company, have announced the completion of Canada's most northerly off-grid solar project, reducing diesel use by 189,000 litres annually in the remote Yukon community of Old Crow and providing them with clean energy for decades to come.

    To see this important project through to successful completion, the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation and Canadian Utilities developed a first-of-its-kind Electricity Purchase Agreement that is a model for effective collaboration in the utilities sector. The Vuntut Gwitchin will serve as the Independent Power Producer, owner and operator of the solar facility, while Canadian Utilities will purchase the solar electricity generated for the next 25 years, feed it into the grid and redistribute to the community.

    "Within ATCO, we are enabling and accelerating the clean energy transition for our customers and providing communities and community partners with sustainable, reliable energy alternatives, however remote they may be," said Melanie Bayley, President, ATCO Electric. "With this landmark project complete, we intend to replicate our innovative model for effective collaboration in similar remote and Indigenous communities across Canada, allowing them to achieve greater energy autonomy while lowering environmental impacts."

    Beyond creating a reliable source of revenue for the community, the reduction in diesel fuel use is in line with the Vuntut Gwitchin's 2019 Yeendoo Diinehdoo Ji'heezrit Nits'oo Ts'o'Nan He'aa Declaration, calling for concrete action on combatting climate change.

    Canadian Utilities, an ATCO company, was involved at each stage of the project's lifecycle and is honoured to collaborate with the Vuntut Gwitchin to help realize a clean energy future for their community. For decades, ATCO has built strong, mutually prosperous Indigenous partnerships and currently has more than 50 joint ventures, relationship agreements and other partnerships with Indigenous communities.

    ATCO is also a leader in the global transition to cleaner fuels and electricity—from the development of a renewable natural gas facility in Alberta, to proposed world-class clean hydrogen projects in Canada and Australia, as well as operating a fleet of solar and hydroelectric power generation in Canada, Mexico, Chile and Australia with a combined generation capacity of 77-megawatts of clean electricity for customers and communities.

    Quick Facts

    • Almost 200,000 litres/year in diesel fuel savings: During prime operating periods, the Old Crow Solar Project will produce enough electricity to meet the full load of the community. This will decrease the operation of the existing diesel generation facility by an estimated 2,000 engine hours per year, thereby reducing the amount of diesel fuel used by an estimated 189,000 litres per year.
       
    • The Old Crow Electricity Purchase Agreement: The Electricity Purchase Agreement for the Old Crow Solar Facility was made between the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation and ATCO Electric Yukon, which is part of Canadian Utilities Limited, an ATCO company. Based in Whitehorse, Yukon, ATCO Electric Yukon serves over 19,000 customers in 19 communities across the territory.
       
    • ATCO's northern roots run deep: ATCO, through its investment in Yukon Electrical Company Limited, has been proudly serving electricity distribution customers in the Yukon Territory since 1901.
       
    • Clean energy solutions and ownership for remote communities across Canada: Energy projects like the Old Crow Solar Facility and the Fort Chipewyan Solar Farm in Northern Alberta—the largest off-grid solar project in Canada, completed in partnership with three Indigenous communities—foster community ownership and self-sustaining economic development through job creation, investment in infrastructure and revenue from the sale of renewable energy

    About Canadian Utilities

    With approximately 4,500 employees and assets of $20 billion, Canadian Utilities Limited is an ATCO company. Canadian Utilities is a diversified global energy infrastructure corporation delivering essential services and innovative business solutions in Utilities (electricity and natural gas transmission and distribution, and international electricity operations); Energy Infrastructure (electricity generation, energy storage, and industrial water solutions); and Retail Energy (electricity and natural gas retail sales). More information can be found at www.canadianutilities.com.

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