Pine Creek is the site of the Atlin hydro project and the expansion to 10 MW (photo courtesy Atlin Hydro)
Canadian government officials made a C$32.2 million ($25.5 million) investment in the Atlin Hydro Expansion Project, an existing Indigenous-owned and operated 2.1 MW hydropower facility in Atlin, British Columbia.
The funding will help enable the facility to build an additional 8.5 MW of winter energy capacity and export this new power to Yukon’s grid through a new transmission line. The project is intended to deliver electricity to the Yukon, help the territory reduce greenhouse gas emissions and meet targets set in the Our Clean Future strategy while helping to ensure that electricity rates remain low for Yukoners.
When complete in 2024 at a cost of about C$206 million ($163.4 million), the Atlin Hydro Expansion Project will eliminate the need for four rental diesels each winter. It will also generate about 31 GWh of electricity each winter.
In February, Yukon Energy signed an agreement with Tlingit Homeland Energy Limited Partnership (THELP) to buy electricity from the expansion, starting in late 2024.
Natural Resources Canada has committed up to C$50 million ($39.7 million) through the Smart Renewables and Electrification Pathways Program and will continue working with THELP to advance their project application, according to a release. In its 2022 Budget, the Yukon government committed C$50 million ($39.7 million) over the next five years toward the Atlin Hydro Expansion Project, including C$15 million ($11.9 million) for the project this year.
The government of Canada has provided C$4.5 million ($3.6 million) to the Atlin Hydro Expansion Project through the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor) and Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada’s Northern REACHE program.
The award was announced by Jonathan Wilkinson, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, and was made through the Low Carbon Economy Fund to THELP. Wilkinson was joined in the announcement by Sandy Silver, Premier of Yukon; John Streicker, minister responsible for the Yukon Development Corporation and the Yukon Energy Corporation; and Brendan Hanley, Member of Parliament for Yukon.
“The Atlin Hydro Expansion Project is a priority for the Yukon government and is a significant step in moving the Yukon and Northern British Columbia toward a sustainable, greener energy system. I look forward to establishing a reliable and diverse supply of renewable winter energy made in the North that will advance our climate goals as a territory and provide Yukoners with affordable energy for generations to come,” Silver said.
The Low Carbon Economy Fund supports energy-efficient projects across Canada to help communities save money by lowering energy costs. Support is also available for industries to put in place clean technologies that will help them be more efficient and innovative, creating jobs and savings.
The Smart Renewables and Electrification Pathways Program provides C$922 million ($731.4 million) over four years for smart renewable energy and electrical grid modernization projects. This program will significantly reduce GHG emissions by encouraging the replacement of fossil-fuel generated electricity with renewables that can provide essential grid services while supporting Canada’s equitable transition to an electrified economy.