Question: Will Yukon Energy ever consider using geothermal energy in the Yukon as well as or as an alternative to natural gas?
What we need in order to produce geo-thermal electricity is very hot water (100 to 120 degrees C) and not the warm water available now and used by Mayo and parts of Whitehorse to heat buildings, etc.
Our early research has indicated there is good geothermal potential in Yukon. The problem is finding the right spot (it's like drilling for oil in that regard). Drilling test holes is very expensive and it would be possible to drill a lot of holes before finding a good location. We are hoping we can partner with others as we move forward in our search for geothermal power. In fact we are just starting to work with the Kaska Nation on a geothermal research project, so stay tuned for updates on that in the days ahead.
Geothermal would be a great energy source for us, as it's both reliable and renewable. In terms of affordability, we don't have enough information yet to know exactly what geothermal would cost per kilowatt hour. We do know that while the initial capital cost would be high, once a geothermal system is set up it would be relatively inexpensive to operate.
Unfortunately, we don't see this as something that could come on stream in the next couple of years, in time to replace our two Whitehorse diesel generators that need to be retired. In terms of meeting that short-term requirement, Yukon Energy believes natural gas is the best option available to us at the moment.
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