A site on Robert Service Way near the Alaska Highway has been selected as the future home of Yukon Energy’s energy storage project.
The location selection was announced Feb. 22 with Yukon Energy pointing out the site is in the traditional territories of the Kwanlin Dün First Nation and Ta’an Kwäch’än Council and on KDFN settlement land that’s been identified by the First Nation for future development.
The project will see the land used for container units of lithium-ion batteries to store electricity generated during off-peak periods that can then be used when there is higher demand. It will be the first such project in the Yukon and it’s anticipated that over the 20-year life of the battery, carbon emissions in the territory will be reduced by more than 20,000 tonnes.
When it’s finished, the battery is expected to be the largest grid-connected battery in the North, and among the largest in Canada.
The decision on the location comes after the battery project steering committee, made up of representatives from Yukon Energy and the two First Nations, was formed in August, and began assessing location options for the project and looking at ways to maximize benefits to the First Nations.
To that end, Yukon Energy, the First Nations and Chu Niìkwän Development Corporation (KDFN’s development corporation) have signed a document outlining Yukon Energy’s commitment to provide investment, procurement, contracting and partnership opportunities to both First Nations through the project.
That agreement includes provisions for Yukon Energy to enter into negotiations for project benefit agreements with each First Nation, with the overall objective of Kwanlin Dün First Nation and Ta’an Kwäch’än Council sharing available benefits.
Each of the project benefit agreements will be subject to approval by the appropriate First Nation’s government, and other government and regulatory bodies.
“Yukon Energy is firmly committed to establishing mutually-beneficial and strategic partnerships with First Nations governments and development corporations to build Yukon’s clean energy future,” Yukon Energy president and CEO Andrew Hall said.
KDFN Chief Doris Bill and TKC Chief Kristina Kane also noted their governments’ commitment to the project, highlighting the benefits to First Nation members and to the entire territory through cleaner energy.
“By participating in projects like this on our traditional territory we are realizing and activating our potential for economic development that was laid out in Chapter 22 of our Final Agreement,” Bill said. “We wish Yukon Energy success in managing and delivering this innovative project. We see it as another step toward stabilizing Yukon’s isolated grid and reducing Yukon’s reliance on fossil fuels for back-up power generation.”
As Kane stated: “Ta’an Kwäch’än Council is in full support of this project, as it will help to reduce diesel consumption and reduce Yukon’s carbon emissions. TKC looks forward to the opportunity to participate on this initiative as we are a committed partner alongside Kwanlin Dün First Nation.”
Three sites were originally proposed as potential locations for the battery project. Two of those were in Whitehorse near Yukon Energy’s operations on Robert Service Way with the other on the North Klondike Highway.
All three were on First Nations Settlement Land and located on the overlapping traditional territories of the KDFN and TKC.
In December it was announced the North Klondike Highway site was no longer being considered due to the significant public opposition against it.
At the time, many argued a residential area wasn’t suitable for the project, highlighting increased fire risks as well as the potential for increased noise and light from the site.
The battery is anticipated to be installed and in service by the end of 2022.
A total of $16.5 million in federal funding has been approved through the Investing in Canada green infrastructure stream with Yukon Energy set to put approximately $14.5 million into the project.
Contact Stephanie Waddell at firstname.lastname@example.org