Yukon Energy welcomes mine, searches for power

In just two years, Victoria Gold hopes to be pulling 100-gigawatt hours of power from Yukon Energy's grid. That's more than a quarter of the power used by the territory today.

In just two years, Victoria Gold hopes to be pulling 100-gigawatt hours of power from Yukon Energy’s grid.

That’s more than a quarter of the power used by the territory today.

Currently, the grid is only capable of supplying the territory with 375 gigawatt hours.

But within five years, Yukon Energy is projecting it will need to come up with roughly 200 more gigawatt hours of power.

And so far, the utility isn’t sure how it’s going to do that.

Yukon Energy is considering setting up wind turbines on Ferry Hill.

If the wind is blowing, that could generate up to 20 megawatts.

When the wind isn’t blowing that power would have to be created elsewhere.

The utility is also looking at plans to store water in Atlin Lake, Marsh Lake or a chain of lakes in the Kluane area called Gladstone.

But Atlin residents are united in their opposition to the Atlin Lake project, which would hold water levels at their season high for months longer.

Storing water in Marsh Lake may be less controversial, but it would only give Yukon Energy nine gigawatt hours of power, while Atlin and Gladstone would each generate 18 gigawatt hours.

The Gladstone project involves redirecting the flow of water running from three chain lakes into Alaska, back into the Yukon.

It would be the first time water has changed direction across an international boundary.

That could be an issue, said Yukon Energy president David Morrison, in a previous interview with the News.

The utility is also considering turning waste into energy.

But Yukon Energy’s most substantial plan is to get Yukoners to use less power, called “demand-side management.”

However, even with demand-side management added to the mix, the Yukon’s growing demand for energy soars far above its projected supply.

And Yukon Energy is already turning to diesel to make up its losses.

In 2010, the utility burned upwards of 600,000 litres on its Dawson grid alone – up from 138,000 on the same grid in 2009.

Despite its looming energy crisis, Yukon Energy “has begun the process necessary to provide electricity to Victoria Gold’s Eagle Gold mine near Mayo,” according to a recent release.

On Friday, the utility and the mine signed a letter of intent.

At this point, it’s just a skeleton, said Yukon Energy spokesperson Janet Patterson on Monday.

The mine’s power requirements, how that power is to be delivered to the mine and the amount of money to be paid to Yukon Energy for the grid connection and the electricity still need to be hashed out, she said.

Victoria Gold would like to be connected to the Yukon grid by the summer of 2013, if not sooner, said the release.

Contact Genesee Keevil at

gkeevil@yukon-news.com.

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