Photo by Whitehorse Star
Photo by Whitehorse Star
In the final frigid days of 2017, the territory broke its energy consumption record three times, according to Yukon Energy.
The morning of Dec. 15, 2016 saw the previous usage record of 88.13 megawatts established.
This was exceeded just over a year later, at 5:41 p.m. last Thursday, when usage reached 89.25 megawatts.
The following day, the record was broken again, at 89.90 megawatts, and for a final time – for now – at 5:16 p.m. Saturday at 92.69 megawatts.
Yukon Energy spokesperson Janet Patterson said this morning the period of record-breaking usage can be explained by the cold snap in which it occurred.
The last days of December saw frigid temperature lows in the -30s C in Whitehorse, according to Environment Canada.
Residents of some areas on the periphery of the capital awakened to temperatures of -40 or colder on Saturday morning. Other areas of the Yukon dipped into the mid -40s.
“We see the highest peaks in the coldest weather,” Patterson explained.
“Clearly, you’re not going to have as much energy usage at -3 than you have at -30.”
The December peaks fit an overall pattern of rising energy consumption in the territory, according to Patterson.
A major reason for the trend is the number of new homes and condos being built with electric heat systems.
“We always encourage people to be careful with the electricity they use. That’s just a message no matter what,” Patterson said.
“Certainly on days where we’re using a lot of thermal, we always encourage people to try to conserve where they can.”
In peak periods, high hydro demand prompts Yukon Energy to supplement this power source with thermal – natural gas and/or diesel.
“Our preference is to generate as little electricity as possible using non-renewable resources,” reads the Yukon Energy consumption webpage.
“Any time you see us using thermal for generation, we would encourage all customers (residential, small business, government and industrial) to try to keep discretionary energy use to a minimum.”
A breakdown of hydro versus thermal consumption was not available for Saturday’s peak.
Data from the daily load consumption, however, show that 425.4 megawatt hours of thermal and 1,563.2 megawatt hours of hydro were consumed – about a 20/80 split.
Going forward, Patterson said, weather will likely determine whether or not the consumption record is broken yet again.
In the meantime, the territory’s residents are encouraged to keep a Yukon Energy adage in mind: “Just use what you need.”
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