Whitehorse Thermal Permitting

2024 update

The YESAB Executive Committee has determined that this project will not be subject to an Executive Committee Screening as it originally was, but rather will proceed through a Designated Office Evaluation.

We submitted our Project Proposal to YESAB in June of 2024.

Renewing our thermal permit

We have started the process to renew our existing air emissions permit in Whitehorse.

We need an air emissions permit to run our diesel and liquified natural gas (LNG) generators at the Whitehorse Rapids Generating Station on Robert Service Way. We use these generators to produce less than 10% of the power Yukoners use every year. However, they are critical to keeping the lights on and houses warm during the winter, when demand for electricity is high.

We’re not asking for anything new or different in our proposal. We’re simply asking to be able to run the generators at the same capacity as we have in the past.

Why do we need an air emissions permit?

We need an air emissions permit to be able to run our diesel and LNG generators. Our current air emissions permit is set to expire at the end of 2024. We’re asking to renew our existing air emissions permit for another 10 years.

Yukoners need far more electricity in winter than at any other time of the year. This leads to peak power demand situations, in which our hydro units cannot generate all the electricity we need. Our diesel and LNG generators are available at the flip of a switch. This ensures that Yukoners have reliable electricity service during winter peaks, emergencies, and whenever renewable resources aren’t available.

In 2022, 92% of the electricity Yukon Energy produced came from renewable sources, primarily hydro. The other 8% came from thermal resources, used primarily during the winter months.

What we are asking for

Our air emissions permit is issued by the Yukon government, following an assessment by the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board (YESAB). The permit allows us to produce 16 megawatts of electricity from diesel generators, and 13.2 megawatts from LNG generators in Whitehorse. Historically, the permit has also authorized up to 12 additional megawatts of diesel that can be used during emergencies.

Our current air emissions permit is set to expire at the end of 2024. We’re asking YESAB to renew our existing air emissions permit for another 10 years.

Our plans for the future

The Yukon is experiencing growing demand for electricity, with higher and more frequent periods of peak demand.

We share Yukoners’ desire to reduce the use of diesel and LNG to generate electricity. Much of the work we’ve been doing over the past few years, and will be doing for years to come, has been focused on this desire. Negotiating a deal to buy renewal electricity from Atlin, completing our own Whitehorse hydro unit upgrades and our grid-scale battery project are examples of these efforts.

We’re focused on renewables. Our goal to generate an average of 97% renewable electricity by 2030 speaks to that. However, operating an isolated grid like ours means there will always be a small but critical role for diesel and LNG to play.

Learn more

Noise and air quality