North

Mayo B hydro project ahead of schedule

The Mayo B hydroelectric project in central Yukon is nearing completion and should be producing power within six weeks, the president of Yukon Energy, David Morrison, said.

The Mayo B hydroelectric project in central Yukon is nearing completion and should be producing power within six weeks, the president of Yukon Energy, David Morrison, said.

The $120-million expansion of the dam facilities on the Mayo River will increase output from 5 MW to approximately 15 MW without producing greenhouse gases.

Two of the turbines in the new $120 million Mayo B hydroelectric dam. (CBC)

"It should reduce diesel generation significantly," Morrison said. "Now, you know, will we get rid of them all? I’m hoping we will."

The project is four months ahead of schedule and could come in $1 million under budget, he said.

Morrison gives much of the credit to construction company Kiewit, an international firm with annual revenues of $10 billion.

"They've proven to me at least that even a small company like us can work with them and the quality of the work has been, as far as I'm concerned, just top notch," he said.

The project received approval from the Yukon Utilities Board and the Yukon Environmental and Socio-Economic Assessment Board in May 2010.

In giving the go ahead the assessment board said the hydroelectric development was the only viable method to meet expected growth, including the possibility of new mining projects.

It also listed dozens of measures to protect fish and wildlife in the area.

Almost three-quarters of the territory’s 116 MW grid comes from hydroelectric sources although it has 39 MW of diesel generators which are mostly used for backup during the winter months.