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Yukon will spend $2.2M to rent diesel generators this winter

Yukon's Energy Minister Ranj Pillai says the territory will spend $2.2 million this winter to rent 9 diesel generators as back-up for the territory's power supply.

'We believe it's a good investment,' said Energy Minister Ranj Pillai

'The idea behind it is to ... have these units as an emergency measure,' said Ranj Pillai, Yukon's energy minister. (CBC)

Yukon's Energy Minister Ranj Pillai says the territory will spend $2.2 million this winter to rent diesel generators as back-up for the territory's power supply.

"The goal is to not operate the units. The idea behind it is to, for the most part, have these units as an emergency measure," Pillai told the Legislature on Wednesday.

"The rental diesels are available in emergency situations, for example, should there be a loss of the Aishihik hydro plant or the Aishihik transmission line, to meet the daily peaks."

This will be the third year the territory has opted to rent some of the 2-MW generators from Vancouver-based Finning Canada. In 2017, four units were rented for four months, and in 2018, six units were rented.

This year, the territory is getting nine. The $2.2 million price tag does not include the cost of the fuel.

"We believe it's a good investment," Pillai said.

Pillai made the announcement in response to opposition critic Wade Istchenko, who pressed the government to explain how it would ensure there would be enough power this winter. The day before, Pillai announced the "good news" that Yukon Energy had scrapped a plan to build a new 20 MW generating facility.

"The population is increasing. The new community of Whistle Bend is massive. And there is a large mine that will be connecting to the territorial grid," Istchenko said.

"So we need to have enough energy in case of an emergency, such as one of our existing facilities experiencing a failure."

Pillai said the territory will review all of its aging infrastructure, as it develops a renewable energy strategy.

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