Canadian government officials made a C$32.2 million ($25.5 million) investment in the Atlin Hydro Expansion Project. The funding will help enable the facility to build an additional 8.5MW of winter energy capacity and export this new power to Yukon’s grid through a new transmission line.
The Atlin Hydro Expansions project is an existing indigenous-owned and operated 2.1MW hydropower facility in Atlin, British Columbia.
The project is intended to deliver electricity to the Yukon, Canadian northwest territory. It hopes to 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.
The project is set to be completed in 2024 at a cost of about C$206 million ($163.4 million), It aims to eliminate the need for four rental diesels each winter and will generate up to 31GWh of electricity annually.
The announcement comes in after Yukon Energy signed an agreement with Tlingit Homeland Energy Limited Partnership (THELP) earlier in February 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 Programme, which provides C$922 million ($728 million) over four years for smart renewable energy and electrical grid modernisation projects.
They have also stated a commitment to 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) 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.
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.
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 stated.