Reviews may zap Carmacks to Pelly line

The $20-million grid extension Yukon Energy Corporation wants to build between Carmacks and Pelly Crossing as part of a deal to provide electricity…

The $20-million grid extension Yukon Energy Corporation wants to build between Carmacks and Pelly Crossing as part of a deal to provide electricity to the Minto mine by 2008 must now undergo several reviews.

Justice Minister Marian Horne will put a “regulated project,” designation on the line according to a letter obtained by the News.

“It is the government’s intention to designate the CS (Carmacks to Stewart Crossing) transmission line as a regulated project … and refer the project to the YUB for review and recommendations,” reads a March 5 letter signed by Horne and sent to the Yukon Utilities Board.

The change will be ordered “within the next few weeks,” according to Horne’s letter.

It isn’t known how long the analysis will take.

But YEC is already feeling the time crunch.

“We have said all along, we’re on a really tight time frame,” said YEC spokesperson Janet Patterson on Wednesday.

“Things have to move along, because conceivably there could come a time in the future where we could have to say, ‘It’s not financially viable to build this.’”

The utility is hoping the review will be complete by April, said Patterson.

But the project faces another hurdle before it can be built.

The Yukon Environmental and Socio-Economic Act Board must also complete a review.

That examination will take at least five more months, said spokesman Rob Yeomans on Tuesday.

In February, YEC and Sherwood signed a power purchase agreement that would see YEC build the 138-kilovolt grid-extension from Carmacks to Pelly Crossing worth about $20 million, and a $3.8-million spur line to the Minto mine by late 2008.

In exchange, Sherwood agreed to buy $24 million in electricity over eight years.

It will also pay for the spur and chip in $7.2 million towards the main line.

It isn’t clear if Sherwood can opt out of the agreement if there are delays.

Quin could not be reached for comment this week.

Also, it isn’t known if YEC could face lawsuits from Sherwood if grid electricity isn’t available by 2008.

YEC president David Morrison could not be reached for comment.

A more detailed story is available online at www.yukon-news.com.