NWT’s carbon tax exemption for heating fuel unlikely to deter homeowners from going green, campaigner says
People in the Northwest Territories will continue to adopt greener home heating technologies with or without a carbon tax, according to the executive director of the Yellowknife-based not-for-profit Arctic Energy Alliance (AEA).
Mark Heyck said that energy costs in the territory are so high that he expects the Alliance’s energy saving programs to be popular regardless.
“Many of our programs are extremely popular with NWT residents, with businesses, the community and Indigenous governments,” he said.
“So I think, carbon tax or no carbon tax on heating fuel, we’re going to continue to see that popularity.”
The territorial government created a NWT exemption from the carbon tax on home heating oil, because the federal government offers that exemption from the federal carbon tax, according to NWT Finance Minister Caroline Wawzonek.
Exemption in place in April, said the minister
It hopes to have an exemption in place by April, Wawzonek told CBC News.
Wawonek said the territorial government will grant the exemption allowed by the federal government – which is an exemption for diesel home heating fuel.
It will then adjust the cost-of-living offset (COLO) to ensure that the approximately 20 percent of NWT residents who use propane and those who use LNG receive similar financial assistance.
Asked if the exemption would discourage people from taking advantage of the AEA’s energy efficiency and greener energy programs, Wawzonek echoed Heyck, saying that the high cost of fuel and the obvious effects of the change or in the climate of the North encourages people to find alternatives to fossils. fuel heat, with or without additional tax.
“Do we need a carbon tax that doesn’t have to use the realities of that to increase the incentive?” he asked. “I’m not sure people do.”
One of the partners at Energy North, a company that sells wood-pellet heating systems in the NWT, agrees.
“Does it spur change? No. It doesn’t spur change,” Jan Larsson said of the carbon tax.
“What’s driving the change is the federal government’s excellent programs where they’re promoting renewable energy…
AEA programs have been very successful, he said.
The Arctic Energy Alliance’s programs are driving change, the vendor said
Customers told him it was that, and not the carbon tax, that drove their purchasing decisions.
AEA offers rebates to people who purchase energy-efficient products, such as large kitchen and laundry appliances, LED lighting, home insulation, and low-carbon heating solutions.
It also offers rebates to help homeowners, businesses, non-profit organizations and governments complete energy-saving home retrofits and purchase hybrid and electric vehicles.
In fact, home energy assessments offered by the AEA to help homeowners evaluate their energy-saving options are in high demand with long waiting lists, Heyck said. .
The Trailbreaker10:56Interview with minister Caroline Wawzonek about potential carbon tax changes for NWT residents.
The nonprofit will have to hire more people to help with evaluations and bring in contractors from outside the territory, he said.
Ultimately, Wawzonek said major solutions are needed to rid the NWT of its dependence on fossil fuels.
That includes continuing the proposed expansion of Taltson hydro and increasing the number of transmission lines from hydro-electric sources in the south of the territory.
The projects need investment from Ottawa, the minister said.
He also wants to see the federal government work with the territory to explore the potential of small modular nuclear reactors.
It is important to address the shortage of skilled professionals and workers able to work in clean technologies, Heyck added, which is an ongoing challenge in the North.