Ranj Pillai, minister of energy, mines and resources, in Whitehorse on Aug. 28. Pillai says the Yukon government will spend $2.2 million on diesel generators this year, now that plans for a new thermal plant have been nixed. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

YG to spend $2.2M on diesel generators in light of cancelled thermal plant

Now that plans for a new thermal plant have been nixed, the Yukon government will spend $2.2 million on diesel generators this year, said Ranj Pillai, Minister of energy, mines and resources, noting that this figure does not include the cost of the fuel.

The now-cancelled Yukon Energy Corp. (YEC) facility would have been 20 megawatts, larger than six, two-megawatt diesel rentals that were used last winter.

Pillai said on Oct. 9 that YEC is looking to rent nine diesel generators now, which are to be used during emergencies.

“We believe it’s a good investment,” he said. “In the same light, we hope, over the next number of days here in the legislative assembly, to talk about almost a dozen different projects that are in different phases for renewable energy that will also help us meet our future energy needs.”

Pillai said the goal is to assess current infrastructure and make it more efficient while integrating a renewable energy strategy.

The decision to cancel the thermal plant came after Yukoners raised numerous concerns during a public engagement period. The call was made when “technical, environmental and socio-economic research” came in, too, according to a Oct. 1 letter from Lesley Cabott, chair of YEC’s board, that was sent to Pillai.

Some concerns from Yukoners included climate change, proximity to homes and cost.

On Oct. 8, Pillai listed off several initiatives struck in order to build up capacity, including a recently announced hydropower battery storage system and $1.5 million per year for local, small-scale renewable energy projects.

Contact Julien Gignac at julien.gignac@yukon-news.com

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