Yukon Energy is moving ahead in 2015 to complete the work necessary to select a site for a five to ten megawatt wind farm in the territory.
Starting next year, we will install wind monitoring equipment on Mount Sumanik near Whitehorse. The equipment will allow us to collect a full year of wind data at the site. We did gather some information from the site several years ago, but it was incomplete. We need to collect data that is similar in scope to that gathered at Tehcho near Stewart Crossing, the other location we are considering for a wind farm. That way we can make an 'apples to apples' comparison and determine which is the better site.
As you know, our parent company Yukon Development Corporation is looking at long term hydro solutions for the territory (20 to 50 years out) but we still need to look at the nearer term (0 to 20 years) needs, and explore all possible renewable options. We see a wind project as an appropriate mid-scale solution to meet the territory’s mid-term electricity needs.
Once the Corporation has data from both sites, we will update the energy yield and cost estimates for the development of similar-sized wind farms at those two locations. We can then choose which site to take forward for more detailed engineering and assessment work.
We know that wind power is intermittent, meaning it is challenging to integrate as an energy source into an isolated grid such as ours. 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 back-up and hydro spinning reserve, but there are a number of emerging technologies we will look at, including 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 plans to engage with First Nations, stakeholders, and members of the public on key topics related to this work.
In a related piece of news, we have decided to take down the small (Bonus) turbine on Haeckel Hill. The turbine was built in 1993 and has reached the end of its life. The company that produced it no longer exists, and parts are next to impossible to come by. The turbine will be decommissioned and removed at some point next summer or fall. Photo credit: www.archbould.com.
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