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West Creek hydro project needs a path forward

February 23, 2013

The latest news report from Skagway, Alaska, suggests the Alaska Energy Authority is unlikely to fund a feasibility study of building a hydro facility at West Creek.

The AEA review team questions the public benefit of the project and suggested that there was significant permitting risk given the project’s proximity to the Klondike Gold Rush National Park.

The Yukon Government and its crown-owned utility Yukon Energy Corporation are keen to see West Creek developed. The 25 MW hydro project would supply winter electricity to Yukon’s isolated grid, while the summer power could be used by the cruise ships docking at Skagway.

The meagre costs of the study ~ $320K pale compared to the value of the project. The project has not been costed out but could conceivably top $250 M. It also should be noted that two major studies have already been carried out on the West Creek project in the 1980s then again in the late 1990s.

AltaGas has three major hydro projects on the go in BC. The smallest of these called McLymont Creek a ‘run of the river’ project with a planned cost of $217 M.


The West Creek project needs a champion. AltaGas owns some gas utility assets in Alaska already. They have the expertise to structure a public-private project and to construct the West Creek hydro facility. AltaGas please consider taking on this project.