Yukon Energy Corporation, a publicly owned utility, is the largest electrical supplier throughout northwest Canada and is tasked with supplying low-cost, reliable electrical power to a huge geographic area with a low-density population. The current transmission system is not connected to the North American grid. Tetra Tech was contracted to undertake an extensive reconnaissance exploration program to target potential locations where geothermal energy could be developed for commercial electrical power generation, with the intent of siting specific prospect areas for potential commercial development.

In 2008 Tetra Tech began a geothermal exploration program to assess the potential for geothermal power generation in the Yukon. We conducted reconnaissance-level geothermal assessments at multiple sites throughout southern and central Yukon. Exploration activities included review of existing geothermal-related information, satellite imagery analysis, and airborne thermal infrared and winter open water surveys that led to the targeting of several sites with surface geothermal features.

Our team applied various geological, geophysical, and hydrogeological methods in the ground-based geothermal site assessments. Information gained from geological mapping, geophysical surveys, and hydrogeochemical analysis was used to develop conceptual models of the geothermal systems.

Early stage geochemical thermometry models projected geothermal reservoir temperatures from 100˚ to 150˚C. Our assessments indicated there are several geothermal prospect areas with potential resources in this range throughout southern and central Yukon. It is anticipated that 100˚C resource temperatures are likely too low for economically commercial electrical generation. However, numerous 150˚C geothermal reservoirs around the world produce commercial electrical power through binary cycle power plants.