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Partnership of utility and First Nation looking at development in the Yukon

Main Street in Whitehorse, Yukon/ Canada (source: flickr/ Arthur Chapman, creative commons)
Francisco Rojas 30 Sep 2013

Canadian territory of Yukon is now seeing first steps towards investment in and exploitation of geothermal resources through Yukon Energy, Yukon Electrical Co., local government, the Kaska Nation and CanNor.

Canadian territory of Yukon is now seeing first steps towards investment in and exploitation of geothermal resources.

In local news it is reported that the first nation of Kaska is “cautiously optimistic that geothermal resources will prove to be viable near our communities,” said Derek Loots, President of the Kaska Energy Corporation, a Kaska-owned corporation. “Geothermal energy is ideally suited to our northern climate and it is in keeping with our philosophies of small footprints on the land and sustainable opportunities for our people and the region. It is the Kaska vision to play a lead role in energy development within our traditional territory.”

CanNor’s investment of over $124,000 will support geological exploration within two areas that are thought to potentially have near-surface geothermal resources. The resource potential in the Ross River and Watson Lake regions was first identified in 2011 during clean energy inventory work co-funded by CanNor and the Kaska Nation.

This new project will be broken into two phases. Phase one will involve data collection, mapping and field work to assess historic drill holes for geothermal testing. Once completed, phase two would involve field exploration including temperature profiling and geophysical surveying.

This project includes partnership funding from Yukon Energy Corporation, Yukon Electrical Company, the Kaska Nation and the Yukon Government, as well as CanNor, and represents an investment of $248,940 toward the examination of alternative, renewable energy options in the North. At the end of the project, the Kaska Nation will have the information needed to decide whether to proceed with future phases of geothermal exploration which could lead to major energy development in their traditional territory.

As much of the geothermal exploration will take place within the Ross River region, the Dena Nezziddi Development Corporation (DNDC) is administering this initiative for the Kaska Nation. DNDC is responsible for creating economic development and employment opportunities for the Ross River Dena and increasing the value of economic activity in the northern region of the Kaska traditional territory. The Ross River Dena Council is one of five communities within the Kaska Nation governed by a collaborative agreement.

Investment in this project is made possible through CanNor’s Aboriginal Economic Development (AED) suite of programs which aim to increase the participation of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples in the northern economy. AED is one of several economic development programs within CanNor. CanNor works to help develop a diversified, sustainable and dynamic economy across Canada’s three territories, and delivers on its northern mandate through funding programs, the Northern Projects Management Office and by undertaking policy and research.

Source: CannOr