Yukon eyes connection to B.C. electricity grid

WHITEHORSE - Yukon's energy minister says Canada's push for more green energy and a net-zero electricity grid should spark renewed interest in connecting the territory's power to British Columbia.

Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources John Streicker says linking the territory's power grid to the south would help with the national move to renewable energy, support the mineral extraction required for green projects, and improve northern energy and Arctic security.

"We're getting to the moment in time when we will want an electricity grid which stretches from coast to coast to coast. … I think that the moment is coming for this — it's sort of a nation-building moment. And I think that from the Yukon's perspective, we're very interested," Streicker said in an interview.

The idea of a link, originally proposed to span 763 kilometres between Whitehorse and Iskut, B.C., was first floated in 2016 but sat on the shelf after a viability study put the price tag at as much as $1.7 billion.  

Two years later, Yukon's then-energy-minister Ranj Pillai — now premier — mused again about the possibility of connecting to power from B.C.'s Site C hydro dam.

The idea appeared to have been resurrected at this year's Western Premiers' Conference in June, with both Pillai and B.C. Premier David Eby publicly mentioning early conversations.

At the conference, Eby said British Columbia was fortunate to have the ability to support other jurisdictions with its hydro electricity.

"So certainly part of the conversation was how do we support each other in sharing our strength?" he said.

"And one of those that British Columbia was able to put on the table is if we can find ways to enter ties with, for example, with the Yukon, to support them in their efforts to access more electricity to grow their economy and decarbonize their electrical grid, then that's very good news for everybody."

The federal government has set a target of making the country's electricity grid net-zero by 2035.


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