ATLIN, B.C. – The Province of British Columbia is contributing $20 million towards a First Nation-led hydroelectric generation and transmission project.
The project is being developed by the Taku River Tlingit First Nation (TRTFN) to replace diesel electricity generation in the Yukon and is also supported by the Yukon and federal governments.
The 8.5 MW project is expected to provide an average of 35 gigawatt hours of energy annually to the Yukon by leveraging the existing water supply of Surprise Lake, add new infrastructure, and send power 92 kilometres north to Jakes Corner, Yukon via a new 69-kilovolt transmission line.
“Atlin has enjoyed clean and renewable energy since 2009 because of our hydroelectric project. Over its lifespan, Atlin’s hydro opportunity will prevent more than one million tonnes of greenhouse gases from being created to power the southern Yukon. We are looking forward to the continuation of this project. Our collective dream is to meet our environmental and economic goals for the region and our local community within the next 10 years. We are so grateful to all our partners involved for their financial support, as we continue onward in creating an energy efficient and sustainable North,” TRTFN spokesperson Charmaine Thom said in a statement.
TRTFN is based in Atlin, B.C. with territory in B.C., the Yukon, and Alaska and since 2009 has replaced diesel-generated electricity in Atlin with a 2.1-MW hydro facility.
The First Nation owns the Tlingit Homeland Energy Limited Partnership (THELP) and plans to expand its hydro portfolio by constructing the Atlin Hydro and Transmission Project and selling electricity to the Yukon via a new transmission line, a BC. government release stated.
The Yukon government requires the Yukon Energy Corporation to generate 97 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030 and the TRTFN project “provides an opportunity for the Yukon government to reduce reliance on diesel generators and to meet future load growth. YEC’s rented diesel generators are expensive to operate and contribute to the territory’s greenhouse gas emissions,” the release stated.
In total, the project is expected to cost $253 to 308.5 million, with the higher number “reflecting recently estimated impacts of inflation and supply chain cost escalation,” the release stated.
Territorial and federal funders have committed $151.1 million to support the project, most recently $32.2 million committed in the 2022 federal budget.