Wind

Wind power uses the kinetic energy of wind to move turbine blades that drive a generator to produce electricity. Most utility scale wind farms have units that generate between one to three megawatts each. The wind turbines are mounted on steel towers between 60 and 90 metres tall with three 20 to 40 metre-long blades.

Process

Studies

CBER Consulting Services completed the inventory of wind energy sites for the 2016 Resource Plan.

From an initial list of 27 sites, seven were selected for further consideration based on wind speed, distance to transmission lines, road access, and land ownership.

The seven include:

  • Miller’s Ridge (near Carmacks)
  • Kluane Lake
  • Cyprus Mine (near Faro)
  • Thulsoo Mountain (near the Aishihik generating facility)
  • Sugarloaf Mountain (near Carcross)
  • Tehcho (near Stewart Crossing; formerly named Ferry Hill)
  • Mount Sumanik (near Whitehorse)

Yukon’s climate means icing on the turbine blades can occur at high elevations in winter, making operating a wind turbine challenging. Of the seven sites selected, only the site at Kluane Lake is at a low elevation.

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

Cyprus Mine

26 26 10 N/A $0.142 N/A 25 5

Option #2

Kluane Lake

24.4 24.4 10 N/A $0.128 N/A 25 9

Option #3

Miller’s Ridge

29.5 29.5 10 N/A $0.134 N/A 25 5

Option #4

Sugarloaf Mountain

15.9 15.9 10 N/A $0.19 N/A 25 5

Option #5

Mount Sumanik

21.1 21.1 10 N/A $0.149 N/A 25 5

Option #6

Tehcho

18.3 18.3 10 N/A $0.17 N/A 25 5

Option #7

Thulsoo Mountain

27.5 27.5 10 N/A $0.137 N/A 25 5

Energy

Capacity

Evaluation

Aquatic environment Most 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 Most favourable
Cultural/community well-being Somewhat favourable
Local economic benefits Somewhat favourable
Climate change risk Most favourable
  •  Most favourable
  •  Somewhat favourable
  •  Least favourable

Notes

Even with energy losses due to ice build-up on the turbine blades in winter, higher winds mean most of the electricity would be generated between October and April. This timing complements Yukon’s energy needs, which are highest in winter. They also complement  Yukon Energy’s existing hydro assets, which can become restricted in winter when there is less water available for generation.

While wind is generally considered to have low environmental impacts, wind projects can have large footprints that can impact local wildlife.

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Initial key findings

Pros

Relatively inexpensive

Provides winter energy

Cons

Intermittent power; can’t be relied on all the time

Challenges with icing on higher elevation sites