Yukon Energy explains use of backup diesel generators

When the lights went out in Whitehorse July 10, it was the old diesel generators to the rescue instead of the liquefied natural gas plant that went online two weeks ago.

'I hope people won't fault us for taking the least time to get the lights on as fast as possible'

Just two weeks ago, Yukon Energy president Andrew Hall announced that the new liquefied natural gas plant in Whitehorse was online and ready for service in any emergency.

"It's available for use, situations where we have an outage on one of our hydro plants and we need backup," he said.

But when the lights went out in Whitehorse July 10, it was diesel generators to the rescue, not the LNG plant.

"I hope people won't fault us for taking the least time to get the lights on as fast as possible," said Yukon Energy spokesperson Janet Patterson. 

The LNG engines replaced the plant's two oldest diesel generators. However, five diesel engines remain in place and will remain in use. 

Patterson said the diesel generators are still the quickest fix for short term emergencies.

"It does not mean we can't use the LNG engines for short-term restoration, but the diesel engines can pick up loads in larger chunks so restoration times are shorter."

Patterson said the new LNG plant could have handled the short-term job, but says it's more suited for longer term outages.

"We've got both," she said. "We don't see this as an issue or a problem."

Patterson says the July 10 outage is the only time the diesels have been called on this year.

Yukon Energy's diesel generators in Whitehorse will remain in service for as long as they are operational.


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