Small Hydro

Hydro electricity generation uses the force of falling or fast-moving water to produce power. Small-scale hydro in Yukon would either be a traditional plant with a dam and reservoir to store water, or a run-of-river plant. Run-of-river operations use the natural flow of a river, with little – if any – storage reservoir.

Process

Studies

The consulting firm Knight Piesold did an assessment of potential small hydro sites in Yukon and northern B.C.

They reviewed reports prepared by Yukon Energy, ATCO Electric Yukon, Yukon Development Corporation, and others over the last 50 years. The company started by looking at 49 potential sites, screened for sites in restricted areas such as parks, proximity to existing or proposed transmission lines, hydrology of the sites, potential energy output, and cost benefit analysis.

Based on this work, five sites were chosen for more detailed review. Sites include:

  • Anvil Creek
  • Drury Lake
  • Finlayson River
  • Pine Creek
  • Tutshi Lake – Windy Arm
  • Wolf River

Technical and Financial Findings

Annual Energy Firm Energy Installed Capacity Dependable Capacity Levelized Cost of Energy Levelized Cost of Capacity Project Life In-service Lead Time
GWh/yr GWh/yr MW MW $/kWh $/kW yr Years Years

Option #1

Drury Lake

31.7 31.7 8.1 8.1 $0.19 $700 65 6

Option #2

Finlayson River

138.9 138.9 17.6 17.6 $0.12 $1,000 65 6

Option #3

Pine Creek

36.1 36.1 8 0 $0.13 $806 65 6

Option #4

Anvil Creek

41.3 41.3 9.8 2.5 $0.17 $700 65 6

Option #5

Tutshi Lake –
Windy Arm

56.6 56.6 7.2 7.2 $0.14 $1,100 65 6

Option #6

Wolf River

95.6 95.6 20 2.8 $0.14 $700 65 6

Energy

Capacity

Evaluation

Aquatic environment Somewhat favourable
Terrestrial environment Somewhat favourable
Air quality Most favourable
First Nation lands Somewhat favourable
Traditional lifestyle Most favourable
Heritage resources Most favourable
Tourism/recreation/other land uses Somewhat favourable
Cultural/community well-being Somewhat favourable
Local economic benefits Most favourable
Climate change risk Most favourable
  •  Most favourable
  •  Somewhat favourable
  •  Least favourable

Notes

The Wolf River and Anvil Creek projects will be run-of-river facilities and the other four would have storage.

Tutshi Lake-Windy Arm could have potential synergies with the downstream Whitehorse Generating Station and potential pumped storage hydro sites between Moon Lake and Tutshi Lake, which could result in additional winter generation.

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Initial key findings

Pros

Generation relatively affordable

Greater chance of obtaining social licence than with large hydro

 Provides winter energy

Cons

Transmission expensive

Lead time for construction relatively long