North

Low water at Mayo Lake lowers power generation for Yukon Energy

Yukon's Mayo B dam is producing a little more than half the power it typically does, because of low water levels in Mayo Lake. The means Yukon Energy is running one of its Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) generators in Whitehorse, around the clock.

LNG generator in Whitehorse now running 24/7 to supplement power supply

The Whitehorse LNG plant is used as a backup, when hydroelectric dams cannot supply enough power. (Philippe Morin)

Yukon Energy is running one of its Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) generators around the clock, to help compensate for reduced power production at the Mayo B dam.

Low water in Mayo Lake is hampering the dam's ability to produce its normal 10 megawatts of electricity, according to Janet Patterson, manager of communications for Yukon Energy. She says low water levels are probably due to a lower snow pack, and less rainfall last summer.
'We don't have the water that we normally have at this time of year, to use for generation,' said Janet Patterson of Yukon Energy. (Mike Rudyk/CBC)

"We don't have the water that we normally have at this time of year, to use for generation," she said.

Right now, the Mayo B hydro facility is only generating around five to six megawatts.

Patterson says in the winter, the Whitehorse hydro dam produces 25 megawatts, down from the 40 megawatts typical during summer months.

Yukon Energy also draws power from its Aishihik dam. 

"At Aishihik, we can generate up to 37 megawatts, and then Mayo typically we can generate about ten megawatts in the winter. So because we are losing a fair chunk of what we can normally generate in Mayo, that's why we are having to resort to thermal [LNG]."

Right now, Yukon Energy is only running one of two LNG generators at its Whitehorse facility. Those generators have been operational since 2015, but are only used occasionally to supplement hydro power.

Patterson says Yukon Energy is not currently using any diesel generators, but may have to if temperatures drop and consumption goes up significantly.

Low water in Mayo Lake is hampering power generation at the Mayo B hydro facility. (CBC )

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.