Change is in the wind

Change is in the wind I'd like to respond to Dean Metcalfe's letter Wonders About Wind Power, published on March 16. Metcalfe raises several interesting points about wind power in his letter. I think I can provide answers to some of the questions raised.

I’d like to respond to Dean Metcalfe’s letter Wonders About Wind Power, published on March 16.

Metcalfe raises several interesting points about wind power in his letter.

I think I can provide answers to some of the questions raised.

The March 18 Yukon News article Wind-Turbine Money Gone Like The Wind also provides some relevant information.

Metcalfe is right in saying that the first wind turbine was installed in 1993, the larger second one was installed in 2000.

Sales of wind turbine capacity worldwide has been growing at a rate of some 25 per cent annually for close to 10 years, and the normal commercial wind turbine size is now about 1.5 to 3 megawatts (1,500 to 3,000 kilowatts).

The wind turbine manufacturers have been so busy selling turbines for markets where there are no problems that they have been ignoring the smaller niche markets, such as those involving icing like on Haeckel Hill and very cold climates.

There are signs that this may be beginning to turn around a bit.

The problems of operating wind turbines in the heavy icing environment of Haeckel Hill have never been fully overcome.

The lack of manufacturer interest and the significant surplus of hydro energy on our grids have resulted, it appears, in the Yukon wind effort being put on the backburner for a while.

With the era of surplus hydropower coming to an end because of increased demand – Yukon Energy indicates prefeasibility work on expanding the larger grid – wind generation is again underway (a request for proposals was issued last fall).

The Haeckel Hill wind regime of about 6.5 meters per second annual average (about 23 km per hour) is marginal for commercial wind generation.

Developers in other parts of Canada look for 7 m/s or more.

The small communities in Yukon served by diesel generation require small wind turbines (50 to 100 kW) which are a lot more expensive per kW to buy and install, and wind-diesel systems require more technical equipment to operate in a manner which does not negatively impact customers.

It all adds up to costs that are higher than diesel generation at present prices.

The only two diesel power served communities in Yukon with enough wind to even consider wind generation are Destruction Bay/Burwash Landing and Old Crow.

And Old Crow would have icing problems on Crow Mountain.

It would be very nice to get some effective government support for wind projects in the North – there are communities along the Hudson’s Bay coast that have annual wind speeds of up to 8 m/s or more and it would not take much to get the wind-diesel industry going there.

The federal government, in its wisdom, would seem to prefer to bail out declining industries rather than encourage support of a growing wind industry.

The NWT government may soon be bucking this trend – stay tuned!

John Maissan

Whitehorse, Yukon

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Mayo-Tatchun MLA Don Hutton sits on the opposition side of the legislative assembly on March 8 after announcing his resignation from the Liberal party earlier that day. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Don Hutton resigns from Liberal caucus; endorses NDP leadership

Hutton said his concerns about alcohol abuse and addictions have gone unaddressed

Crystal Schick/Yukon News
Calvin Delwisch poses for a photo inside his DIY sauna at Marsh Lake on Feb. 18.
Yukoners turning up the heat with unique DIY sauna builds

Do-it-yourselfers say a sauna built with salvaged materials is a great winter project

Wyatt’s World

Wyatt’s World for March 5, 2021.

Yukonomist: School competition ramps up in the Yukon

It’s common to see an upstart automaker trying to grab share from… Continue reading

The Yukon government responded to a petition calling the SCAN Act “draconian” on Feb. 19. (Yukon News file)
Yukon government accuses SCAN petitioner of mischaracterizing her eviction

A response to the Jan. 7 petition was filed to court on Feb. 19

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley receives his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine from Public Health Nurse Angie Bartelen at the Yukon Convention Centre Clinic in Whitehorse on March 3. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
State of emergency extended for another 90 days

“Now we’re in a situation where we see the finish line.”

The Yukon government says it is working towards finding a solution for Dawson area miners who may be impacted by City of Dawson plans and regulations. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Miner expresses frustration over town plan

Designation of claims changed to future planning

Team Yukon athletes wave flags at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremony in Whitehorse. The 2022 event in Wood Buffalo, Alta., has been postponed indefinitely. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News file)
2022 Arctic Winter Games postponed indefinitely

Wood Buffalo, Alta., Host Society committed to rescheduling at a later date

Housing construction continues in the Whistle Bend subdivision in Whitehorse on Oct. 29, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon Bureau of Statistics reports rising rents for Yukoners, falling revenues for businesses

The bureau has published several reports on the rental market and businesses affected by COVID-19

Council of Yukon First Nations grand chief Peter Johnston at the Yukon Forum in Whitehorse on Feb. 14, 2019. Johnston and Highways and Public Works Minister Richard Mostyn announced changes to the implementation of the Yukon First Nations Procurement Policy on March 3. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Third phase added to procurement policy implementation

Additional time added to prep for two provisions

Crews work to clear the South Klondike Highway after an avalanche earlier this week. (Submitted)
South Klondike Highway remains closed due to avalanches

Yukon Avalanche Association recommending backcountry recreators remain vigilant

RCMP Online Crime Reporting website in Whitehorse on March 5. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Whitehorse RCMP launch online crime reporting

Both a website and Whitehorse RCMP app are now available

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is preparing for a pandemic-era election this October with a number of measures proposed to address COVID-19 restrictions. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City gets set for Oct. 21 municipal election

Elections procedures bylaw comes forward

Most Read