Climate Change

Climate Change's Impact on Power Production

Water is critical to Yukon's energy portfolio. Historically, more than 90% of our electricity has been generated using hydro. For this reason, it is important we understand the impact climate change will have on Yukon’s hydro resources.

Llewellyn Glacier, Fantail and Wheaton rivers

Yukon Energy recently worked with the Northern Climate ExChange of the Yukon Research Centre on a multi-year project to gather information about how climate change could affect hydro generation at the Whitehorse dam. Monitoring stations at the Llewellyn Glacier, and the Fantail and Wheaton rivers allowed researchers to record information such as air temperature, precipitation (both rain and snow) and solar radiation. This research was critical to Yukon Energy in terms of helping us plan for climate change and the implications on our ability to generate hydro power at our Whitehorse facilities.

  • The research indicated that Yukoners should expect:
  • an increase in average annual temperatures
  • changes in precipitation patterns
  • a greater frequency of extreme events such as floods, droughts and storms

Upper Yukon River, Mayo and Aishihik Basins

Since 2012, we have worked with Yukon University, the University of Alberta and L’Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS) to study the Upper Yukon River, Mayo and Aishihik basins. 

Our research focused on four factors that contribute to power production in Yukon– precipitation, temperature, glaciers and stream flows. Our research found that:

  • The generation of hydro power is not expected to be negatively impacted by climate change.
  • It has and will continue to get warmer and wetter in Yukon.
  • We can expect more variability in precipitation in the future, but wet years will be wetter and dry years will be wetter than average years now.
  • More water is expected in the Mayo and Aishihik reservoirs over the next 30 years.
  • Yukon glaciers are melting. More than 20 per cent of their area was lost between 1958 and 2006.
  • Glacier melt and wastage makes up 23 per cent of inflows in the Upper Yukon River. Glacier melt is causing more flows in the Yukon River right now.
  • More research is needed to understand the implications of climate change on the Upper Yukon River system over the next 30 to 80 years.

The results from this research will help us to improve our current operations, and planning for future years.

Reducing GHGs

Yukon Energy, in cooperation with the City of Whitehorse, sponsors Bike to Work Week each spring. It's an initiative aimed at encouraging people to park their vehicles and bike to work or school. In 2023, 275 people took part, biking more than 6,044 kilometres and reducing GHGs by almost 1,596 kilograms.