AINA’s Kluane Lake Research Station (KLRS) has, for over 50 years, provided support for national and international caliber northern environmental research. Scholars and students have come from across the country and around the world to conduct basic research in anthropology, climate science, ecology, geology, glaciology, limnology, and mammalogy.
However the research station itself has much to offer in other areas as well. Because of its location in Yukon Territory, a region of both climatic and solar challenges, KLRS provides opportunities for research on energy solutions for sustainability, not just for the station, but for remote communities across Canada’s north.
Our research station of the future is already becoming a reality with initial investigations into employing renewable energy resources (wind, solar, hydro, and heat pump) underway, and the installation of our first greenhouse scheduled for summer 2014. New partnerships with the University of Calgary’s Departments of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, have enabled us to begin a study of our energy use and consider the development of alternatives. Over the coming years this program will grow. As the station transitions to renewables for maintaining operations we will also develop small-scale, state of the art facilities for continued research and education on northern energy solutions and pathways to sustainability and resource management.
Phase 1 - Summer 2014
The first phase of the KLRS Renewable Energy Research Project began at the end of April 2014, the opening of the field season. This phase involves an analysis of the current elextrical energy needs of the station. Professors David Wood and Andy Knight of the Schulich School of Engineering, together with students Geoffroy de Reynal and Anton Deriabine, and AINA Executive Director and Professor Maribeth Murray, visited KLRS to install data loggers to record the energy usage. The installed data loggers will record the total electricity output of the diesel generators, total loads at the south end of the station, plus the loads in the mess hall, project hut, Wood Building and the wet/dry lab. The loggers will record electricity usage on a minute by minute basis for the full operating season of 2014 and will provide the data required to developed combined photovoltaic (PV) and battery solutions that will reduce dependancy on diesel.
At the end of May, Anton and Geoffrey returned to KLRS to troubleshoot deviations in the monitoring system. They fixed a faulty voltage probe connection and moved one logger from a low energy-use building to record data from a higher usage building. They simulated a lower level of energy consumption as you might find with a renewable energy system, and our Station Mangers Sian Williams and Lance Goodwin learned how to download the logger data so information maybe analysed remotely from the University of Calgary. Anton and Geoffry also collected information to enable us to determine if there is a correlation between the number of people at KLRS and the amount of power consumed, which is exepcted.