Over $2.26 million from the N.W.T.’s latest Energy Action Plan will go towards initiatives including new rebate programs for e-bikes, snowmobiles and electric boats as well as charging infrastructure across the territory
The Northwest Territories (N.W.T.) is aiming to reduce emissions by 51 kilotons, increase renewable energy adoption and invest in EV infrastructure in the government’s 2022-2025 Energy Action Plan.
In N.W.T., transportation is responsible for about 55 per cent of the total greenhouse gas emissions. Over $2.26 million is being allocated to initiatives to lower emissions in the transportation sector over the next three years. The 2022-2025 Energy Action Plan is the second three-year energy plan released since 2019.
“This action plan provides the government of N.W.T. and its partners with a roadmap over the next three years to advance initiatives that will contribute to reducing the cost of energy for residents, keeping our energy systems reliable, and reducing territorial GHG emissions,” says Diane Archie, N.W.T’s minister of infrastructure in a press statement.
“This new action plan is realistic and achievable and is key to achieving the long-term economic, social and environmental well-being of the territory and its residents.”
In total, $194 million in Action Plan funding has been allocated to 68 actions and initiatives that will help to advance six strategic objectives outlined in the territory’s 2030 Energy Strategy — which includes a target to lower greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector by 10 per cent on a per person basis.
The 2030 Energy Strategy, which was unveiled in 2018, is the government’s comprehensive “approach to supporting secure, affordable and sustainable energy in the NWT for transportation, heat and electricity,” says the government.
EV rebates for e-bikes and snowmobiles
As part of an effort to reduce costs and emissions for transportation and make it easier for people to purchase electric vehicles, the government is setting aside funds for several incentive programs.
There are currently about 30 EVs registered in the NWT as of March 2022, according to the N.W.T. government’s 2021-2022 Energy Initiative report. The Arctic Energy Alliance, an organization that promotes renewable energy in the Northwest Territories, used to offer a $5,000 rebate for the purchase of new battery-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles and $500 for Level 2 charging infrastructure, but that program ended earlier this year.
“Funding has been exhausted for that pilot program,” explains a spokesperson for the government in an email statement to Electric Autonomy Canada. “But the Energy Action Plan is providing $300,000 in funding in 2022-2023 and 2023-2024 fiscal to continue it and expand it.”
In addition to rebooting the EV rebate program, $10,000 in 2023-2024 will be given to start a rebate program for electric bikes located (only in areas powered by hydroelectricity), with the amount for the following year still to be determined.
The government is also putting $20,000 into “exploring the potential” of an incentive program for on-the-land EVs, such as electric snowmobiles and electric boats in 2023-2024, according to the budget breakdown.
Investing in EV charging infrastructure
The N.W.T. government is also making significant strides to increase charging infrastructure in the territory by directing $1.2 million to build out a public charging network corridor between communities powered by hydroelectricity and not diesel.
The government says it is using recommendations from a 2020 study it commissioned to help guide its ongoing planning efforts for future EV charging infrastructure.
The study looked into what the future uptake of EVs will be in N.W.T. by 2030 and investigated the feasibility of creating a charging corridor between Yellowknife and the Alberta border.
Ultimately, it found that between 2.9 per cent and 11.3 per cent of light-duty vehicles in the N.W.T. will be electric vehicles by 2030. It also discovered that between Yellowknife and the Alberta border, Highways 1 and 3 could be transformed into EV fast-charging corridors.
This year, the N.W.T. government began funding projects to make charging more accessible in the territory. In August, it partnered with Northland Utilities to invest up to $300,000 to set up the first two DC fast chargers in Yellowknife.
The Northland Utilities office at 481 Range Lake Road will house one station while the second charger will be located at the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre’s parking lot. By March 2023, both stations are anticipated to be finished and operational.
Northland Utilities will also be providing $70,000 toward the project.
(One of the major hurdles to getting EV chargers installed in N.W.T. is the cost, which, due to the remoteness of the region and higher supply and electricity costs, balloons far beyond the cost for chargers installed in non-remote communities.)
“The Government of Northwest Territories’s (GNWT) investment in EV charging infrastructure will empower N.W.T. residents to purchase EVs,” said Archie in a press statement at the time of the announcement. “This will reduce residents’ carbon footprint, manage energy costs, and help the GNWT achieve its 2030 Energy Strategy objective of reducing GHG emissions from transportation by 10 per cent per capita by 2030, and aid the North in taking action against climate change.”
The federal government is also helping to provide funding for chargers in the territory as well. Through its Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program fund, Natural Resources Canada is promising $414,000 toward installing up to 72 electric vehicle charging stations in N.W.T. by March 2024. The chargers will be located in public places, multi-unit residential buildings, on streets, at workplaces or at facilities for servicing light-duty vehicle fleets.
Tackling EV charging in MURBs
According to the 2022-2025 Energy Action Plan, NRCan will also be leveraged as a funding source to help the territory “develop a program funding public, commercial and multi-unit residential EV charging programs.”
A 2021 Dwellings Census breaks down the dwelling type for residents in N.W.T. Overall, 37.2 per cent of the territory’s population lives in a semi-detached, row, apartment or moveable home. That equates to roughly 16,675 people.
Over $424,000 in new funding will be given to developing the MURB charging program in N.W.T. between 2022-2024.
The government of N.W.T. has an existing EV infrastructure program to support the installation of charging stations in MURBs, public places, on-streets and workplaces. Funding comes from the 2030 Energy Strategy and the federal Department of Natural Resources (under the terms of the Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program).
The program gives up to 50 per cent of the total eligible cost to a maximum of $5,000 per connector for a Level 2 charger and $75,000 per charger for a DC fast charger. Applications for the program are being accepted on a first-come-first-serve basis until Dec. 1, 2023 and projects must be completed by March 31, 2024.
The full 2022-2025 Action Plan can be found here.