YEC reviews ways to meet future demand

Yukon Energy is updating its 20-year resource plan, which will outline how best to meet the territory's electricity needs from 2016 to 2035.

Yukon Energy is updating its 20-year resource plan, which will outline how best to meet the territory’s electricity needs from 2016 to 2035.

Andrew Hall, the corporation’s president, announced last week that Yukon Energy will ask the public for input.

“What are the priorities? Are they clean air, clean water, preservation of fish and wildlife, or preservation of wild and recreational lands? Are greenhouse gas emissions important? Or is it all about keeping costs as low as possible?” Hall said at a briefing.

The resource plan was last updated in 2011, and is due for review every five years.

The review is expected to last from 12 to 15 months. Yukon Energy will first come up with an estimate of how electricity demand will change over the next 20 years, and will then look at the gap between current energy supply and future demand.

The corporation will then come up with portfolios of different energy projects that might fill that gap, and will ultimately choose the best options. It expects to file an updated plan with the Yukon Utilities Board in 2017.

Hall said the public is encouraged to participate through public meetings, online surveys, social media and an interactive website found at

He said Yukon Energy will also be mailing out pamphlets with information about the state of the territory’s electricity supply to every household later this month.

Hall said the Yukon’s electricity outlook is different from what it was in 2011. At that time, Yukon Energy predicted that demand would continue to rise steadily.

“But what happened is our electricity load peaked in 2012 and we actually saw two years of declines,” he explained. “We had some warmer winters, and obviously the winter temperature is the key driver of our electrical demand. But also we’ve had a decrease in population growth.”

So far, demand in 2015 is essentially the same as last year, he said. But it’s unlikely that demand will stay flat for the next 20 years.

Hall said the utility will “cast the net quite broadly” when it comes to looking at different technologies.

One option is pumped storage, which involves using excess hydro power to pump water up to a high-elevation lake or reservoir, where it can be stored for use in the winter. It has the potential to reduce the territory’s dependence on fossil-fuel power during the winter months.

Hall said the corporation is exploring pumped storage at its Moon Lake project in B.C. “I think it’s definitely an interesting option. But what we really need to do is understand the economics of that, of what the economics of a pumped storage facility might be.”

He said a pumped storage facility would take at least five years to develop.

Grid-scale wind and solar options will be considered as well. Hall noted that the territory currently has about 14 residential solar systems.

However, non-renewable options will also be on the table. Hall said the territory will require diesel and liquefied natural gas power to meet winter peaks in demand for the foreseeable future. He said it’s possible a third diesel generator could be retired and replaced with an LNG generator at the new LNG facility in Whitehorse, but added that there’s “flexibility as to when that happens.”

He said the LNG generator would not be used to increase baseload power, but would essentially replace the diesel generator “megawatt for megawatt.”

Goran Sreckovic, Yukon Energy’s director of resource planning, said the review will be “technology-neutral.”

“We will evaluate every single resource option against a set of criteria, and those criteria will be technical, financial, social, and environmental,” he said. “So at the end of the day, any project that meets our criteria will be taken into account.”

Hall specified that the Yukon government’s plan to build a large, next-generation hydro dam will not be part of this resource plan.

He also said the plan will work on the assumption that the Yukon’s electricity grid will remain isolated from Outside.

Contact Maura Forrest at

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

Just Posted

Benjamin Poudou, Mount MacIntyre’s ski club manager, poses for a photo in the club’s ski rental area on Nov. 16. The club has sold around 1,850 passes already this year, compared to 1067 passes on Oct. 31 last year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Early season ski pass sales up as Yukoners prepare for pandemic winter

Season passe sales at Mount McIntyre for cross-country skiing are up by around 60 per cent this year

The City of Whitehorse will be spending $655,000 to upgrade the waste heat recovery system at the Canada Games Centre. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
New waste heat recovery system coming to the CGC

Council approves $655,000 project

Yukon First Nation Education Directorate education advocates and volunteers help to sort and distribute Christmas hamper grocery boxes outside Elijah Smith Elementary School on Feb. 23. (Rebecca Bradford Andrew/Submitted)
First Nation Education Directorate begins Christmas hamper program

Pick-ups for hampers are scheduled at local schools

Cyrine Candido, cashier, right, wipes down the new plexi-glass dividers at Superstore on March 28, before it was commonplace for them to wear masks. The Yukon government is relaunching the Yukon Essential Workers Income Support Program as the second wave of COVID-19 begins to take place in the territory. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon Essential Workers Income Support Program extended to 32 weeks

More than 100 businesses in the territory applied for the first phase of the program

Cody Pederson of the CA Storm walks around LJ’s Sabres player Clay Plume during the ‘A’ division final of the 2019 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament. The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28 in Whitehorse next year, was officially cancelled on Nov. 24 in a press release from organizers. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament cancelled

The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28… Continue reading

Lev Dolgachov/123rf
The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner stressed the need to safeguard personal information while shopping this holiday season in a press release on Nov. 24.
Information and Privacy Commissioner issues reminder about shopping

The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner Diane McLeod-McKay stressed the need to… Continue reading

Keith Lay speaks at a city council meeting on Dec. 4, 2017. Lay provided the lone submission to council on the city’s proposed $33 million capital spending plan for 2021 on Nov. 23, taking issue with a number of projects outlined. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Resident raises issues with city’s capital budget

Council to vote on budget in December

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

Most Read