Written by Dana Hatherly for Yukon News
Published May 7, 2022
A joint tri-government media release put out April 26 announced four wind turbines will be erected on Haeckel Hill. Two turbines, one seen in a photo from March 2022, were previously put up in the area in 1993 and 2000.
PHOTO: Malek Tawashy for Northern Energy Capital
Four wind turbines are set to be erected on Haeckel Hill in Whitehorse.
Energy from these turbines will feed into the territory’s energy grid throughout the winter, when energy demand peaks, according to a joint tri-government media release issued on April 26.
“Last winter’s cold snap saw record electrical demand in the Yukon, and that demand will only increase in the future. We’re proud to be a part of improving energy security for all Yukoners,” Chief Doris Bill of Kwanlin Dün First Nation said in the release.
The release indicates it is anticipated these turbines will power up to 650 homes over their 20-year lifespan. In the release, the turbines will replace the equivalent of more than 40-million litres of diesel fuel, which means offsetting up to 115,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.
Yukon Energy built two test turbines in 1993 and 2000 to determine whether wind farming was a viable option to augment hydropower and offset diesel use during peak periods. Both of those turbines are now out of commission.
“These new wind turbines, which will connect to Yukon’s energy grid, will enhance the grid’s ability to meet peak winter electricity demand while reducing our reliance on diesel,” Yukon MP Brendan Hanley said in the release.
A Yukon Energy document on the history of wind energy in the territory indicates wind speeds are greater at higher elevations, such as Haeckel Hill, which sees wind speeds greater that the six metres per second that is considered adequate for wind farming.
An undated background report by Vancouver-based company Natural Power on wind energy in the Yukon points out noise, visual and wildlife impacts are the most common concerns raised by residents, adding that U.S. surveys have concluded the average wind turbine kills about two birds each year. The report says buildings, pet cats and the impact of climate change on natural habitats present a “much larger” threat to birds.
“The Haeckel Hill wind project is an important step towards transitioning the Yukon to more renewable energy and reducing our emissions to meet our targets in the Our Clean Future strategy,” which is the territorial government’s road map for addressing climate change, John Streicker, the minister responsible for the Yukon Development Corporation, said in the release.
The federal government is pitching in approximately $26 million for the project, including more than $13 million through the Arctic energy fund, $8 million through Clean Energy for Rural and Remote Communities, and close to $5 million through the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency.
The Yukon Development Corporation is chipping in $485,000 and the Eagle Hill Energy Limited Partnership, owned by Kwanlin Dün First Nation’s development corporation Chu Níikwän LP, will be spending more than $2 million.
The wind turbines, which are already in the works, are expected to be complete in November 2023.
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