Federal government grant to assess wind potential in the Yukon

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Northern Yukon's Vuntut Development Corporation has received nearly C$100,000 from Canada's federal government to study the wind power potential near the community of Old Crow. The corporation, owned by the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation, and Yukon Energy, the territory's government-owned monopoly utility, will match the funding to install a wind monitoring station on Crow Mountain. With no road access, Old Crow, located 128 kilometres north of Arctic Circle near the Alaska border, is one of the most isolated communities in the Yukon. Its 300 residents currently rely on diesel generators for electricity. Using the area's wind resource to displace some of the diesel, says Vuntut's Stephen Mills, fits with the corporation's strategy of "developing good economic ventures while protecting and enhancing the environment of the north Yukon." The impact of greenhouse gas emissions and climate change is a growing concern in Canada's northern territories. At a recent workshop on Arctic climate, Canada's environment minister, David Anderson, called the north, "The canary in the global coal mine for climate change," pointing out the region is already seeing higher average temperatures, thinning sea ice, earlier spring thaws and a loss of permafrost. "I had the honour of listening to elders of the Vuntut Gwitchin when I was in Old Crow last April. They spoke of the land and the changes they have seen in the climate during their lifetime," he said. "I only wish that those few sceptics left who still claim that climate change is not real or it's not all that significant could hear what I have heard."

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