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Yukon Hospital Corporation re-signs with renewable power program


March 27, 2015 – The Yukon Hospital Corporation has rejoined a program that allows it to use renewable power to heat Whitehorse General Hospital instead of fossil fuels.

Yukon Energy’s secondary sales program prices the renewable power at a discount compared to heating oil. This saves companies about 30% on their heating bills and cuts down on greenhouse gas emissions, Yukon Energy stated.

Whitehorse General Hospital used the program from 2003 to 2010, noting it opted out due to the limited availability of surplus renewable energy. Now that it has rejoined, the hospital said it estimates heating costs could be reduced by $100,000 this year.

“Our heating system provides steam and hot water that support many of the hospital’s vital needs, including space heating and a variety of processes such as laundry and instrument sterilization,” Yukon Hospital Corporation’s CEO Jason Bilsky said. “Using renewable energy whenever possible makes sense as it not only reduces our environmental footprint and significantly cuts costs, but it also directly supports our role in ensuring quality health care for Yukoners.”

To qualify for the program, businesses must have or install a second electrically fired heating system, and acknowledge that the secondary power is interruptible during times when renewable electricity is not available.

A key component is that the company be connected via computer to Yukon Energy’s system control centre, so that the system can be automatically turned on and off based on the availability of surplus renewable power.

“Yukon Energy’s sales have dropped in the last two years, in large part because of warmer temperatures,” Yukon Energy president Andrew Hall said. “This program gives us the opportunity to make up some of that lost revenue, so we can keep rates affordable for other ‘firm’ electricity customers.”

There is currently one other automated secondary sales customer – the Canada Games Centre in Whitehorse. In 2014, the centre accessed secondary sales approximately 97% of the time, saving Whitehorse taxpayers close to $100,000 in heating costs, claimed Yukon Energy.

Yukon Energy said it hopes to add one or two more automated secondary sales customers in the coming months.