Kluane Lake’s newest neighbour

A 60-metre-tall pole is being erected near the shore of Kluane Lake between Burwash Landing and Destruction Bay next week. It is not part of a wind turbine, but it is the beginning of a wind-energy project for the area.

A 60-metre-tall pole is being erected near the shore of Kluane Lake between Burwash Landing and Destruction Bay next week.

It is not part of a wind turbine, but it is the beginning of a wind-energy project for the area.

The meteorological tower is equipped with wind-speed and direction sensors, as well as thermometers that send data to J.P. Pinard’s cellphone every few weeks.

Pinard, who has been behind many of the territory’s wind-energy efforts, is hoping to help the two tiny communities turn off their diesel generators once and for all.

The plan is to have three wind turbines built between the highway and the lake along the few kilometres between the two communities by 2014.

This is just another step in the Kluane First Nation’s efforts to provide greener, cleaner and cheaper energy.

“We’ve always been pushing the idea of alternative energy and offsetting some of our diesel costs and consumption,” said Math’ieya Alatini, chief of the First Nation. “Fossil fuels are dirty, they’re getting more expensive and it is polluting the environment. We need to be doing our part.”

This past summer, the First Nation drilled to test for geothermal energy. Solar panels have been installed. And, for more than a decade, Burwash Landing has had a wood-chip-fired district heating system, which heats four public buildings.

Currently, Yukon Electric’s diesel generators guzzle about 590,000 litres of fuel, at a cost of about $1 per litre, per year to provide electricity to both Burwash Landing and Destruction Bay. Both communities are completely off the grid. Burwash alone needs about two million kilowatt-hours of energy per year, which costs about $0.35 per kilowatt-hour on diesel.

“For them it’s a huge expense,” said Alatini about the electrical company. “It makes sense for us to partner on other things.”

When running at full capacity, the three wind turbines are expected to produce about 300 kilowatts, said Colin Wright, environment co-ordinator with the First Nation. Each year, the turbine trio is expected to displace 150,000 litres of diesel.

And despite the normally windy conditions around Kluane Lake, the First Nation is aware of some of the downsides to wind energy.

“It’s not always a consistent source of energy,” said Wright. “You have to look at finding multiple sources of energy to supply the grid. But combining all of these technologies into one grid is what we’re looking to do.

“We’re looking to start developing renewable energy resources in our area, and we’re looking at reducing our reliance on fossil fuels.”

Along with the cost-savings and environmental concerns, much support for the First Nation’s efforts has come from industry, said Alatini.

“There’s a lot of push towards looking at alternative energy sources,” she said. “There’s a lot of money out there, and we have our own, of course. We’ve had support from mining companies … just by putting it out there, that we’re interested in looking at this. And we’re signing off an (memorandum of understanding) with Yukon Electric.

“And we’ve got enough wind here,” she added with a laugh.

Contact Roxanne Stasyszyn at

roxannes@yukon-news.com

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 at a press conference in Whitehorse on March 30. Hanley announced three more COVID-19 cases in a release on Nov. 21. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Three more COVID-19 cases, new exposure notice announced

The Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Brendan Hanley, announced three… Continue reading

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: COVID-19 strikes another blow at high-school students

They don’t show up very often in COVID-19 case statistics, but they… Continue reading

The Cornerstone housing project under construction at the end of Main Street in Whitehorse on Nov. 19. Community Services Minister John Streicker said he will consult with the Yukon Contractors Association after concerns were raised in the legislature about COVID-19 isolation procedures for Outside workers at the site. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Concerns raised about alternate self-isolation plans for construction

Minister Streicker said going forward, official safety plans should be shared across a worksite

The Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley, pictured at a press conference in October, announced three new cases of COVID-19 on Nov. 20 as well as a new public exposure notice. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
New COVID-19 cases, public exposure notice announced

The new cases have all been linked to previous cases

Beatrice Lorne was always remembered by gold rush veterans as the ‘Klondike Nightingale’. (Yukon Archives/Maggies Museum Collection)
History Hunter: Beatrice Lorne — The ‘Klondike Nightingale’

In June of 1929, 11 years after the end of the First… Continue reading

Samson Hartland is the executive director of the Yukon Chamber of Mines. The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during its annual general meeting held virtually on Nov. 17. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Yukon Chamber of Mines elects new board

The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during… Continue reading

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and — unsurprisingly — hospital visitations were down. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Annual report says COVID-19 had a large impact visitation numbers at Whitehorse General

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and… Continue reading

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

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

City council was closed to public on March 23 due to gathering rules brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The council is now hoping there will be ways to improve access for residents to directly address council, even if it’s a virtual connection. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Solution sought to allow for more public presentations with council

Teleconference or video may provide opportunities, Roddick says

Megan Waterman, director of the Lastraw Ranch, is using remediated placer mine land in the Dawson area to raise local meat in a new initiative undertaken with the Yukon government’s agriculture branch. (Submitted)
Dawson-area farm using placer miner partnership to raise pigs on leased land

“Who in their right mind is going to do agriculture at a mining claim? But this made sense.”

Riverdale residents can learn more details of the City of Whitehorse’s plan to FireSmart a total of 24 hectares in the area of Chadburn Lake Road and south of the Hidden Lakes trail at a meeting on Nov. 26. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Meeting will focus on FireSmart plans

Riverdale residents will learn more details of the City of Whitehorse’s FireSmarting… Continue reading

The City of Whitehorse is planning to borrow $10 million to help pay for the construction of the operations building (pictured), a move that has one concillor questioning why they don’t just use reserve funds. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Councillor questions borrowing plan

City of Whitehorse would borrow $10 million for operations building

Most Read