Northern Climate ExChange partners with Yukon Energy and federal government on hydrosecurity project

WHITEHORSE – Matching funds from Yukon Energy Corporation and the federal government will allow the Northern Climate ExChange (NCE) of the Yukon Research Centre to continue its research investigating the implications of climate change on hydro generation at the Whitehorse dam.

Yukon Energy and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada have each contributed $385,000 to allow the Northern Climate ExChange to build upon preliminary research already conducted with the energy corporation. Technical and other support will be provided by the Yukon Geological Survey and Environment Yukon’s Water Resources Branch.

“This project aims to improve our understanding and preparedness for the impacts of climate change in northern Canada, which is of vital importance to Yukon’s prosperity,” said Lacia Kinnear, Manager, Northern Climate ExChange.

“This research is critical to Yukon Energy in terms of helping us plan for climate change and the implications on our ability to generate hydro power,” said Janet Patterson, spokesperson for Yukon Energy. “With the majority of the electricity we produce coming from the Whitehorse hydro facilities, we must be ready for any future changes in the watershed that feeds our Whitehorse system.”

Researchers will install automated weather and snowpack monitoring stations at five locations in the upper Yukon River watershed. The researchers will study the characteristics and flow dynamics of the headwater glaciers. They’ll also collect data on snow pack and suggest how the water that feeds the Whitehorse dam could be affected by climate variability. Yukon College students will be involved in many different aspects of this project, including field work and data interpretation.

By the third year of the project, the researchers expect to develop a model that will help Yukon Energy in its future resource planning. It will also assist the energy corporation in operating its Whitehorse hydro facilities in the most efficient way possible under various scenarios.

More information on this project can be found at:

The Northern Climate ExChange is one of seven key programs at the Yukon Research Centre (YRC). The other six include: Biodiversity Monitoring, Cold Climate Innovation, NSERC Industrial Research Chair for Colleges in Mine Life Cycle, Technology Innovation, Science Adventures, and Resources and Sustainable Development in the Arctic. Core funding for the Yukon Research Centre is provided by Yukon Education and Yukon Economic Development.

Yukon Energy Corporation is a publicly owned electricity utility that operates as a business, at arm’s length from the Yukon government. It is the main generator and transmitter of electrical energy in Yukon.


For more information, contact:

Lacia Kinnear
Northern Climate ExChange
Yukon Research Centre

Janet Patterson
Manager, Communications
Yukon Energy Corporation