Alaska and Yukon are planning a $250,000 feasibility study into an energy and telecommunications link between Whitehorse and Skagway.
Yukon announced a request for proposals on the project this week.
“Yukon and Alaska have enjoyed a long history of working together and collaborating on projects like this allowing us to strengthen and grow our economies as well as our friendship,” said Economic Development Minister Currie Dixon. “Infrastructure projects like this will provide benefits for both our economies and will further integrate our already well-connected jurisdictions.”
Connecting Skagway to Yukon’s energy grid could offer great benefit to both jurisdictions.
Skagway needs power in the summer to fuel the tourist invasion, when Yukon has an excess supply of hydro.
In the winter, when Yukon’s power demand peaks, sleepy Skagway needs little.
Skagway’s proposed West Creek Hydro project would serve both jurisdictions well, if there were a link between the two.
That project is still in early stages, but an energy link to Whitehorse would make the project look more attractive to the Alaska Energy Authority and could potentially bump it up the priority list.
A telecommunications link to Skagway could help to solve another of Yukon’s connectivity problems.
Currently Yukon only has one fibre optic link to Outside, putting the territory at risk of communications outages.
If fibre optic cables were run to Skagway and continued on to Juneau, Yukon would have a back-up connection to the rest of the world.