Wind power trumps LNG

Wind power trumps LNG Open letter to the YESAB executive committee: We would like to suggest an alternative to Yukon Energy's LNG conversion project. Our alternative idea is for YEC to expand its wind energy supply and to use the wind energy in conjuncti

Open letter to the YESAB executive committee:

We would like to suggest an alternative to Yukon Energy’s LNG conversion project. Our alternative idea is for YEC to expand its wind energy supply and to use the wind energy in conjunction with electrical thermal storage (ETS) to replace heating oil, and reduce our need for diesel peaking.

First, in the spirit of expedience, we will choose a known and accessible wind farm site near the biggest load on the Yukon grid, the city of Whitehorse. Haeckel Hill already has a road, power line, two wind turbines and YEC has a land-use permit in place.

We suggest removing the smaller aging Bonus 150-kW wind turbine and replace it with a far larger turbine of 2.3 megawatts like the ones used at Diavik Diamond Mine in the N.W.T.

The other existing Vestas 660-kilowatt turbine can be left in place until we can afford to upgrade it. Haeckel Hill has room for two more 2.3-megawatt wind turbines. The expanded wind farm will have a total 7.56 megawatts of capacity, produce 16 gigawatt-hours a year and the cost should be $3.6 million per megawatt (assuming similar cost to Diavik) or $25 million. First Nations could be equity partners, local contractors will be employed to upgrade the road, transmission lines and build the foundations for the new turbines.

We will target roughly 1,200 homes and replace their oil furnaces with ETS units. This first phase will increase the annual electrical heating needs by about 15 gigawatt-hours. This will increase Yukon Energy’s revenues by $2.3 million annually (assuming $0.15/kWh). Local electrical businesses and furnace installers will be employed installing the new furnaces.

The wind project will diversify our renewable energy sources and enhance the existing hydro system, since wind energy is more prevalent in the winter. The ETS units will be interruptible and controlled from Yukon Energy’s expanded SCADA system, this will stabilize the grid, help reduce the daily electrical peaks and be a valuable tool for YEC to re-energize the grid in the case of power outages. It will also be cleaner and safer in case of winter power outages because the ETS units store heat.

Yukon Energy should replace their old diesel units with more efficient ones that are more suitable for peaking and short time usage. As a comparison, diesel units that are being bought by YECL presently are $1.5 million per megwatt, so YEC’s new diesels should only cost $12 million, rather than the $34 million proposed for the LNG system.

This is just the beginnings of an idea. We recognize that electrical generation, management and distribution is very complex, but we don’t think it is beyond the capabilities of engaged Yukoners to contribute, expand on and explore these opportunities. There are plenty of well educated people in the Yukon. Our classrooms are in the bush, office, ski trails, workshops, on the rivers and mountain passes. People who live here think about their impact on this beautiful place every day, and we want to be involved with managing those impacts.

Sally Wright and JP Pinard


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

Just Posted

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, speaks to media at a press conference about COVID-19 in Whitehorse on March 30. The Yukon government announced three new cases of COVID-19 in Watson Lake on Oct. 23. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Three new COVID-19 cases identified in Watson Lake

The Yukon government has identified three locations in town where public exposure may have occurred

A pedestrian passes by an offsales sandwich board along Fourth Avenue in Whitehorse on Oct. 22. NDP MLA Liz Hanson raised concerns Oct. 21 in the legislature about increased hospitalizations due to alcohol consumption that correlate with an extension in the hours alcohol can be sold in the territory. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Alcohol-related hospitalizations rise after off-sales hours extended

Reduced hours for off-sale liquor establishments likely part of Liquor Act spring reforms

Tourism and Culture Minister Jeanie McLean (formerly Dendys) speaks during legislative assembly in Whitehorse on Nov. 27, 2017. The Yukon government has announced $2.8 million in tourism relief funding aimed at businesses in the accommodation sector that have already maxed out existing funds. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Tourism relief funding offers $2.8 million to hotels and overnight accommodations

$15 million in relief funding is planned for the tourism sector over the next three years

The Whitehorse sewage lagoons photographed in 2011. With new regulations for wastewater anticipated to be introduced by the federal government within the next decade, the City of Whitehorse may soon be doing some prep work by looking at exactly what type of pollutants are making their way into the city’s wastewater. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Pondering pollutants

City could spend $70,000 looking at what contaminents are in waste water

Most of Whitehorse Individual Learning Centre’s class of 2020 graduates. The former students were welcomed back and honoured by staff at the school on Oct. 14 with a personalized grad ceremony for each graduate. (Submitted)
Individual Learning Centre grads honoured

Members of the Whitehorse Individual Learning Centre’s class of 2020 were welcomed… Continue reading

Benjamin Munn, 12, watches the HPV vaccine in 2013. Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine will be available to all Yukoners up to, and including, age 26. Currently the program is only available to girls ages nine to 18 and boys ages nine to 14. (Dan Bates/Black Press file)
HPV vaccine will be available to Yukoners up to, including, age 26

Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine will be available… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

COMMENTARY: Me and systemic racism

The view from a place of privilege

Today’s mailbox: Electricity and air travel

Letters to the editor published Oct. 23, 2020

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Irony versus Climate

Lately it seems like Irony has taken over as Editor-in-Chief at media… Continue reading

Evan Lafreniere races downhill during the U Kon Echelon Halloweeny Cross-Country Race on Oct. 16. (Inara Barker/Submitted)
Costumed bike race marks end of season

The U Kon Echelon Bike Club hosted its final race of the… Continue reading

Smartphone showing various applications to social media services and Google. (Pixabay photo)
National media calling for level playing field with Google, Facebook

In Canada, Google and Facebook control 80 per cent of all online advertising revenues

Education Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee, right, before question period at the Yukon legislative assembly in Whitehorse on March 7, 2019. The Yukon government announced Oct. 19 it has increased the honoraria rates for school council members. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Honoraria increased for school council members

Members of school councils throughout the territory could soon receive an increased… Continue reading

Most Read