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Letter: Electrifying projections

Electrifying projections
This graph, provided by Northern Energy Capital, shows the potential for wind generation compared with demand on the electrical grid. (Courtesy/Northern Energy Capital)

Electrifying projections

Chu Niikwan, which oversees Kwanlin Dün First Nations’ economic activity, is on track to furnish the Yukon electrical grid with additional power via its Haeckel Hill Wind Project (aka Eagle Hill) by the end of 2023. Not only will this project provide power for at least 650 homes, but it will do so in the winter when the demand is greatest.

Northern Energy Capital, which has designed and is managing and building the wind development on Haeckel Hill, outlines the many benefits of this project:

1. it is virtually on our Whitehorse doorstep and makes use of clean energy that until now has been untapped;

2. their data - accumulated over six years - indicates that peak wind in Whitehorse occurs through the winter months when, as any Yukoner knows, we need energy the most;

3. developments in cold climate technology will enable the wind turbines to operate in cold temperatures as the dark blades will have an anti-icing feature and can be heated in the event of ice;

4. this Kwanlin Dün project provides the First Nation with economic opportunity and ensures, after development, that benefits remain in Yukon;

5. given the close proximity of Yukon University and its Cold Climate Centre, the project will also create mechanisms for training, study and further innovation;

And, finally, the budget for the Haeckel Hill Wind Project remains $25 million.

Further info on the Haeckel Hill Wind Project is available at

Yukoners Concerned, longtime promoters of wind energy, salute Kwanlin Dün’s foresight and their commitment to providing an alternative energy source.

Coincidentally, we were reminded last week of the ever more extraordinary multi-million dollar projected cost of the Atlin Power Project, a project that has seen costs escalate steeply from original estimates, even before construction is underway. This project is now estimated to cost $330 million, according to CBC news on Feb. 24.

This is a project that makes no sense, either in terms of its supposed benefit to the Yukon grid or its exorbitant cost, one that will be borne by Yukon and Canadian taxpayers and by Yukon ratepayers - probably in the form of a rider added to our electric bills.

While comparisons may be odious, in this case the contrasts between the two projects couldn’t be starker. The Haeckel Hill Wind Project will produce eight gigawatts of energy annually for $25 million, and construction is underway and should be completed by the end of this year.

The Atlin Power Project, not yet started, has seen costs balloon from an original $120 million to $330 million now for 35 gigawatts of annual energy production. Proceeding down this colossal money pit would be completely irresponsible and saddle Yukoners with costs for years. It is today’s version of the Montreal Olympic Stadium.

The wind may not blow all the time, of course, and the Haeckel Hill Wind Project will not address all of our electrical needs, but it will demonstrate that wind is a viable alternative to thermal energy. Scaling up the wind farm by adding more turbines on an adjacent location such as Mt. Sumanik could be achieved at considerably less cost than relying on an everescalating out-of-territory solution.

The Government of Yukon and Yukon Energy must take the prudent and realistic course to end the pursuit of the minimally beneficial, exorbitant Atlin Project, act in the long term interests of Yukoners and commit to developing renewable energy in Yukon.

Rick Griffiths

For Yukoners Concerned