Geothermal and greenhouses – a way to energy and food security for the Yukon?

Geothermal and greenhouses – a way to energy and food security for the Yukon? Main Street in Whitehorse, Yukon/ Canada (source: flickr/ Arthur Chapman, creative commons)
Alexander Richter 10 Aug 2020

Geothermal energy is a core element of planned greenhouse aquaponic operations of a company in the Yukon Territory in the North of Canada, which could be a model for northern regions around the world in need of improving food security.

With the ongoing covid-19 pandemic, regions and countries around the globe are faced with discussions on energy and food security. With challenges to import routes and business models, more and more region look at ways to secure food availability.

So it is not surprising to read about efforts in the Yukon Territories in Canada to turn to farming to boost self-sufficiency and build the market for local food. This so the article is a wider trend being experienced all over the place.

In the case of the Yukon, a northern territory with a cold climate agriculture is either limited to short summers or to greenhouses during the colder months of the year. How to guarantee the supply of energy, last but not least heat is therefore a large concern and a big cost element as well.

This is where geothermal comes in handy. A local resource where available it can with already low temperatures make a tremendous impact on making local agriculture in greenhouses economically feasible.

With demand often outnumbering supply in regions such as the Yukon, local production becomes more and more important. The company North Star in the Yukon has been developing its hydroponic greenhouse operation near the local Takhini hot springs. While heat is important if the geothermal resource could also supply power even better. The company plans to raise fish and grow vegetables together, as reported by CBC in 2019.

The company is working with the Na-Cho Nyak Dun First Nation to develop a 130-hectare farm about an hour outside Dawson City and 80 kilometres from the nation located in Mayo, Yukon Territory.