Electricity demand at an all time high, Yukon Energy says

Yukon Energy has been producing record amounts of power this week, as the territory sits in the grip of a deep freeze.

Yukon Energy produced record amounts of power last week, as the territory sits in the grip of a deep freeze.

On Dec. 15, the energy corporation was generating 88.13 megawatts of electricity.

“That’s the highest it’s ever been,” said Yukon Energy spokesperson Janet Patterson.

The previous record was set on Jan. 5, 2015 at 83.69 megawatts. That record was first broken on Dec. 12, when electricity generation hit 84.33 megawatts, and again on each of the next two days.

Patterson said demand is likely up because many new homes are built with electric heating instead of oil-fired furnaces.

Christmas lights and holiday baking also increase power use at this time of year.

“Everything adds up,” Patterson said.

On Thursday morning, roughly 20 megawatts of electricity were produced by back-up diesel and liquefied natural gas generators, with the rest coming from hydro power.

Patterson said those generators are currently running about 20 hours a day. Yukon Energy can’t produce as much electricity from hydro power in the winter because there’s less running water available.

“In terms of hydro, we’re generating as much as we possibly can at this time of year,” she said.

Power consumption increased through the week in part because demand from the Minto mine rose from three megawatts early in the week to five megawatts on Wednesday and Thursday.

Yukon Energy is currently updating a resource plan for the next 20 years. Patterson said the plan will look at how to meet growing demand at peak times, and will account for future scenarios with low, medium and high mining activity in the territory.

For now, the corporation is asking people to be conscious of how much electricity they’re using and to cut back where they can.

“We should always be using our electricity wisely and not more than we need,” Patterson said.

Contact Maura Forrest at maura.forrest@yukon-news.com

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