Project Newsletter - March 24, 2015

What's Happening?

Spring is coming and we can already see breakup happening on the Yukon River. As we head into warmer weather, the technical team will continue its Phase 1 work – Project Identification of Next Generation Hydro – with the goal of identifying one or more projects to meet Yukon's electricity needs 20 to 50 years from today.  

To date, technical work has been undertaken to identify our future needs for electricity, documented in the paper Yukon Electrical Energy and Capacity Demand Forecast (2035-2065). As well, over 200 potential hydro sites from across the territory have been reviewed. Ten sites have been shortlisted as the only sites that met the criteria for further study. No site selection has been confirmed to date and much more work is required before a recommendation can be made by Yukon Development Corporation (YDC) at the end of 2015.

The technical team will continue to work on each site to understand the costs, socio-economic and environmental impacts and benefits, scalability, impacts and benefits to First Nations and social license for each site. This information will be compiled in a series of technical papers to be released in the fall of 2015. A workshop and speaking event will be held to gather comments on this work.

Discover what we've learned so far: visit the Document Centre on our website for all reports, presentations and videos and browse the Resource Centre to learn more about energy and electricity in Yukon. 

- The Next Generation Hydro Team - 

Just how much power will we need
20-50 years from today?

In 1951, Yukon's population was 9,096 people. Today, sixty-five years later our population is now 35,000. What will the territory look like in another 50 years? We will have outgrown our renewable electrical assets and we can’t buy power from any other jurisdiction. What will we do to meet our future electrical needs?

According to the baseline scenario in the Yukon Electrical Energy and Capacity Demand Forecast (2035-2065), Yukon's population could grow to 65,000 by 2065. In this scenario, Yukoners will need approximately 50 per cent more electricity in 50 years.
Planning for future electricity needs is no easy task. In 50 years, we'll need at least another 53 Mega Watts (MW) or 265 Gigawatt Hours (GWh) of winter power to make sure the lights and heat stay on during the darkest, coldest months.  Hydro facilities can be configured in a number of different ways. As a reference for comparison, the Whitehorse Hydro facility produces up to 40MW in the summer when there is lots of water but only 24MW in the winter. We would need two new facilities the size of Whitehorse to meet the need. In other parts of Canada, this would be considered a small to medium-sized project. In other jurisdictions, projects can be as big as 1000-5000MW. 

As our communities grow and the world changes, our electrical needs increase. Business and industry need electricity to power their growth, but so do our neighbourhoods. Schools, ice rinks, hospitals and recreation facilities are some of the biggest users of electricity. 

Learn more about the forecast and our future energy needs.

Energy and Capacity

Electrical systems are designed to maintain a critical balance between the supply of electricity and customer demand. Electricity generation is measured by two related but different measures: energy and capacity.

Energy is a measure of power used over time and represents the “work” that could be done. For example, a one MW plant that operates for one hour is said to have produced one megawatt-hour (“MWh”) of energy.

Capacity is a measure of the ability of a given power source to produce power, typically measured in watts (W), kilowatts (kW), or megawatts (MW).

The difference between energy and capacity is important to understand and key to thinking about the requirements of an electrical generation source. Put simply, energy is what we consume to do work (for example, to cook food, light and heat our homes) and capacity is the assurance that the energy we want to use is instantly available when energy is required.

The image below demonstrates this. It shows a reservoir with 40MW total capacity. The bottom half of the tank represents winter capacity. In this case, only 20MW of capacity is available in the winter and all 40MW is available in the summer. When capacity is released and put to use, it turns into energy. When the energy needed at peak times exceeds the capacity held in the tank, then other energy sources are needed. These energy sources must be ‘dispatchable’ -- meaning instantly available 24/7 to meet the short-term peak need.
Find out more about how we use electricity,  and the challenge of planning for energy and capacity on an isolated grid. Discover what we've learned so far about the forecast for Yukon's future energy and capacity needs.

Upcoming Events

Discover what we've learned so far and share your feedback at one of our upcoming events. 

May 2015  
- First Nations Forum
- Public Speaker Event

June 2015 
- Public Speaker Event

October 2015
- Workshop #3

Featured Documents

- Workshop #2 Outcomes Report
Site Screening Inventory (Part 2 of 2)
- Site Screening Inventory (Part 1 of 2)
- Electrical Energy and Capacity Demand Forecast (2035-2065)

Featured Videos

Introduction to Next Generation Hydro
An Introduction to Next Generation Hydro Public Speaking Event #1 - November 26, 2015
Next Generation Hydro Public Speaker Event #2
Electricity Demand Forecast and Shortlist - Public Speaking Event #2 - January 29

Contact Us

Yukon Development Corporation
Lisa Badenhorst
Project Director
Ph: (867) 456.3995

Next Generation Hydro Engagement Team
Darielle Talarico 
Engagement Lead
Ph: (867) 668.2411