Wind power to the people

Wind power to the people Open letter to Wade Ischenko, MLA for Kluane: I have been very attentive to the recent Yukon Utilities Board Hearing of Yukon Energy's general rate application. I feel this application illustrates well the value of the Access to

Open letter to Wade Ischenko, MLA for Kluane:

I have been very attentive to the recent Yukon Utilities Board Hearing of Yukon Energy’s general rate application. I feel this application illustrates well the value of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act as it stands.

The Yukon Conservation Society managed to reveal the great promise of wind energy on Mount Sumanik through an ATIPP to Yukon Energy. This Wind Energy Assessment Feasibility Study, which was completed in February 2009, is now a public document so all Yukoners can see the important potential of wind energy in the territory.

The study shows that seasonal wind patterns follow the load, hence the wind is strong when the load is greatest, in the winter. The size of the wind farm analyzed in the report would cost $76 million and produce 47 gigawatt-hours of electricity a year, as compared to Mayo B, which for $120 million is expected to produce only 30 gigawatt-hours.

This report is now available for the ratepayer to consider when faced with a rate increase because of how expensive Mayo B ended up being. Even with the subsidies from the feds, the expense forced Yukon Energy’s parent company, the Yukon Development Corp., to go to the bond market. It now has a $100 million debt and little power production to pay for it, and Yukon taxpayers will be on the hook for it.

Taxpayers have the right to see how their taxes are being spent and ratepayers have the right to expect a well managed, efficient and forward-thinking utility. In this case, ATIPP helped Yukon people to see the flawed decision-making process that has resulted in their electrical rates to climb by 13 per cent.

Sally Wright

Kluane Lake