Energy & Power
Yukon Energy advancing toward 5-10MW wind farm
By Anthony Capkun
December 6, 2014 – Yukon Energy has announced plans to complete the work necessary to select a site for a 5-10MW wind farm in the territory.
“We recognize that wind is a valuable option in our energy toolbox,” said president Andrew Hall. “It is renewable, can be developed in a reasonable time frame, and is scalable. We see this as an appropriate mid-scale solution to meet the territory’s mid-term electricity needs.”
Starting next year, the corporation will install wind monitoring equipment on Mount Sumanik near Whitehorse, which will allow the utility to gather a full year of wind data at the site. The information, explains the company, will be similar in scope to that gathered at Tehcho (formerly Ferry Hill) near Stewart Crossing—another possible wind farm site.
Once the corporation has data from both sites, it can update its energy yield and cost estimates for the development of similar-sized wind farms at those two locations. It can then choose the best site to take forward for more detailed engineering and assessment work.
“Since wind power is intermittent, it is challenging to integrate as an energy source into an isolated grid such as ours,” Hall added. “That’s why, as a key part of this work, we will be taking a close look at the integration of wind energy into our system and assessing different technologies and options for firming up wind supply.”
Historically, the options available in the territory included diesel backup and hydro spinning reserve, explains the utility, but it will now consider some emerging technologies, such as large-scale batteries, compressed air storage and ultracapacitors. Integration with options such as pump storage and electrical thermal storage will also be reviewed as part of the study.
Over the next 18 months, Yukon Energy says it plans to engage with First Nations, stakeholders and members of the public on key topics related to this work.
Yukon Energy currently has two wind turbines on Haeckel Hill in the Whitehorse area: 150kW Bonus and 600kW Vestas. The Bonus has reached the end of its life and will be decommissioned next year, but it will not be replaced. Instead, Yukon Energy will focus on doing the work necessary to have a wind project of between 5-10MW “shelf-ready” so it can be built once the “load growth develops and other relevant conditions are met”.