Frequently asked questions

How much noise does the battery make?

A noise review was completed that found that the main sources of noise from the battery sites would be the batteries, inverters, and the transformer. The noise review looked at what sound levels from the battery would be at the home or building closest to each potential site. Sound levels at each site’s nearest neighbour are illustrated below. Note that the site close to the Takhini Substation would require noise mitigation equipment to be added to be below permissible sound levels at the nearest neighbour.

How were the proposed sites chosen? Why are only First Nation owned lots being considered?

The three proposed sites were chosen for consideration because they are:

  1. Located in or near Whitehorse. Locating the battery near the community that uses the most electricity in Yukon ensures the battery is providing as much value as it can to the grid.
  2. Owned by either the Kwanlin Dün First Nation or Ta’an Kwäch’än Council. Having the battery located on First Nation Settlement Land creates opportunities for First Nations to benefit from the project either through land lease payments, investment opportunities and/or contracting.
  3. Located near existing substation which decreases the cost of construction for the project and the impact of those costs on electricity ratepayers.

Will the battery be lit? Will the batteries be visible from the road?

A lighting design has not been completed for this battery yet. This will be done in later stages of engineering. The site will be lit for security purposes but lighting levels will be balanced with the desire to reduce light pollution. Efforts will be made to maintain a treed buffer around the site so that it cannot be seen from the road.

How long will the battery last? How many times can the batteries be recharged?

This battery is projected to last about 20 years. Batteries degrade both over time as well as from charging and discharging. The lithium ion batteries chosen for this project can be charged and discharged more times than is expected to be needed over the 20 years. The design will ensure that sufficient capacity remains in the batteries at the end of life.

How will the battery be recycled?

Recycling lithium ion batteries is also possible using a few different techniques including smelting, incineration and cryogenic freezing and shredding. As the use of batteries grows and recycling technology evolves, the best technology at the time will be used to recycle the battery at the end of its life.

What is the fire response plan? Will the local fire fighters require new training?

Regardless of which site is chosen for the battery, a fire response plan will be developed and training will be provided to the local fire department.

Is there potential for expansion? Is YEC planning to add more batteries to the site in the future?

Yukon Energy is not considering expansion of the battery site at this time. Grid-scale batteries like this one are designed to store hours – not days or weeks – of surplus electricity for use during peak times. We’ve designed this battery to maximize the resources we have during those off-peak hours. We are also looking to build a pumped storage facility on Moon Lake to help us store months’ worth of surplus renewable electricity in the future.

How much will electricity rates increase as a result of this project?

We expect the battery to cost $35 million. In September 2019, the Government of Canada announced that they would provide $16.5 million in funding towards the project through its Green Infrastructure Stream.

Adding a grid-scale battery to our grid is one of the most cost-effective and quickest solutions we have to help add new sources of dependable electrical capacity to the grid. We will submit an application to include our share of the battery’s project costs ($18.5 million) in our rates after the battery is installed and operating.

What environmental impacts will the battery have? Are the emissions, radiation, gases that will impact human health or livestock?

Lithium ion batteries don’t have any acid. This eliminates the hazard of acid spills. The only liquid in a lithium-ion battery is the electrolyte within each battery cell. There is virtually no leak risk of this electrolyte fluid as the amount of fluid in each cell is very minimal. Should a cell be punctured, the fluid would remain within the container for mitigation and cleanup.

Lithium-ion batteries also do not produce any noxious gases in normal operation. Similar to most electrical facilities, in the very unlikely event of a total facility fire, gases could be released due to the burning of various materials and equipment.

Will this project lead to a decrease in property values? What about an increase to insurance premiums?

Two of the three potential sites for the battery are located near existing electrical substations or electricity generation facilities. The third site on the northeast corner of the Alaska Highway and Robert Service Way is located beside a major highway. For these reasons, the construction of the battery is not expected to have an impact on the property values of nearby lots.

The construction of a grid-scale battery is also not expected to have an impact on the insurance of nearby homes and businesses. There are two reasons for this:

  1. The battery’s safety and protection equipment will meet or exceed industry standards making the risk of an incident with the battery extremely low; and

  2. In the highly unlikely event of an incident, our Commercial General Liability insurance policy would cover any damages to 3rd party property. This means no additional risks for insurance companies of individual homes or businesses.

What is the risk of fire of explosion?

Lithium-ion batteries are generally considered safe technology and the risk of a fire in a battery energy storage system is very low. We’ll also take a number of proactive steps to ensure that fire and other safety risks are managed effectively.