Whitehorse power dam

Yukon Energy wants to switch its backup generators at the Whitehorse power dam from diesel to liquefied natural gas. (CBC)

Yukon Energy is defending its plans to switch to gas-powered back-up generators at public hearings before the Yukon Utilities Board.

Monday night the board held a public meeting in Whitehorse, and of the eighteen speakers, not one was in favour of the liquefied natural gas plan.

Yukon Energy, however, says the switch to natural gas is simple economics.

An energy consultant working for the corporation, Cam Osler, says all the credible industry forecasters say LNG will be far cheaper than diesel for years to come.

"I'm acknowledging uncertainty. What is certain today, is it would cost Yukoners much more to replace these diesels with diesels and pay for diesel energy," Osler says.

He told the board it's a winning solution even if diesel prices do come down.

"You're not going to be locked in to only using gas, you will have the ability to pick the cheapest fuel. At the moment you don't. You have to burn diesel," says Osler.

Yukon Energy President David Morrison told the board in the middle of a northern winter when the system is working at capacity, there is no choice.

"We think energy should come from renewables, but I can't find a renewable that's a reliable backup."