Yukon Energy proposes new storage facility, transmission lines

Yukon Energy CEO Andrew Hall presented a 'sneak peek' of the utility's draft 10-year, $500-million Renewable Electricity Plan at a conference in Whitehorse on Wednesday.

Company highlights proposed projects in draft renewable energy plan

Yukon Energy CEO Andrew Hall presented a 'sneak peek' of its draft 10-year Renewable Electricity Plan at a conference in Whitehorse on Wednesday. (Claudiane Samson/Radio-Canada)

Yukon Energy has come up with some ideas to try to meet the territory's growing demand for renewable energy — but paying for those ideas will require help from Ottawa.

"Oh, I'd say $300 million would be great. More, if possible," Yukon Energy CEO Andrew Hall said with a chuckle.

"The plan is built around really getting strong support from the federal government," he said. "That's happened every single time in Yukon, when we've built any large infrastructure."

Hall presented a "sneak peek" of the company's draft 10-year Renewable Electricity Plan at a conference in Whitehorse on Wednesday. The full plan will be made public next month.

It follows the Yukon government's own draft strategy, released in November, to deal with what it labels a "climate change emergency." That plan sets a target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Yukon by 30 per cent by 2030, compared to emissions in 2010.

Hall says Yukon Energy's draft plan can "help the Yukon government meet its climate change objectives."

Yukon Energy's Whitehorse generating facility. (David Croft/CBC)

The plan highlights three proposed projects, designed to help meet demand for power in winter, using renewable sources.

According to Hall, Yukon currently doesn't generate enough renewable power in winter and too much in summer. The draft plan aims to address that, he says.

One project would see a new pumped storage facility built at Moon Lake in northern B.C. Hall describes it as two reservoirs separated by a vertical drop.

"During the summer, we would pump water from the bottom uphill to the upper reservoir and store it there. And then during the winter, we'd run it in reverse, run the water downhill and generate the power when we need it — during the winter," Hall said.

Part of Yukon Energy's proposed plan would see new transmission lines built in the Southern Lakes area and to Skagway, Alaska. (Claudiane Samson/Radio-Canada)

Another project described in the draft plan would see Yukon Energy source power from the Taku River Tlingit's hydro plant in Atlin, B.C. The First Nation is planning an expansion of that facility, and has talked about selling power to Yukon.

Another part of Yukon Energy's proposed plan would see an expansion of the transmission grid to Skagway, Alaska. That way, surplus power could be sold where it's needed in summer.

"Right now, the cruise ships when they come into Skagway, they run their diesel engines during the day while the passengers are off in Skagway, and it creates a huge environmental problem down there," Hall said.

"So the cruise ship industry is looking at electrifying, so they run the ships on what's called shoreside power during the day — and that's a business opportunity for Yukon Energy."

One proposed project would see a transmission line extended to Skagway, Alaska, where there's a growing demand for power in the summer cruise ship season. 'That's a business opportunity for Yukon Energy,' Hall says. (Claudiane Samson/Radio-Canada)

Plans for the projects are in the early stages, the company says.

"That's why it's a 10-year plan. It takes a long time to develop and get the permitting done, the support of the local First Nations, social licence," Hall said.

In all, the projects could cost more than $500 million.

The draft plan is now available online. The company will hold public meetings after the full plan is released next month.

With files from Claudiane Samson/Radio-Canada


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