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Electric Thermal Storage (ETS)

What is Electric Thermal Storage (ETS)?

The recent rise in the popularity of electric heating in Yukon has been driving up the “winter peak,” which occurs when the demand on the electrical grid is at its highest – typically in the mornings and evenings on the coldest winter days. Since we have no connection to the North American electrical grid, Yukon Energy Corporation (YEC) must always produce exactly as much electricity as is being used by their customers at any given time. This means Yukon Energy Corporation has to use more diesel and natural gas to “top up” our electricity when there isn’t enough hydropower available.

Energy storage technologies, with batteries typically being the first type that comes to mind, help remote utilities like YEC store electricity when they have more than they need for use when the demand is at its highest. While battery technology is always improving, there is a limit to how many times one can be charged and discharged. Electric thermal storage (ETS) is an energy storage technology without a limit on the number of times it can be charged and discharged. ETS heats up a material, typically ceramic bricks, when demand on the electrical grid is lowest and then ‘discharges’, providing heat throughout the day. This smooths out the daily peaks in electrical demand, reducing the need for remote utilities to use fossil fuels and making the electrical grid more stable. It has been successfully used for this purpose in other northern locations, including some of Alaska’s remote communities, and elsewhere in Canada, including Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.

The Yukon Electric Thermal Storage Demonstration Project

For this project, we will be demonstrating that the successes experienced in other locations utilizing ETS can be repeated here in Yukon. At least 40 homes in Whitehorse (with some exceptions - see "Participant Selection") will be provided discounted ETS systems, with participants required to meet a set of eligibility criteria. These discounted ETS systems will serve as the primary heat source for participants homes, which may necessitate the removal of the existing primary heat source in participants' homes, whether that's baseboards, space heaters, a furnace, or a combination thereof. The performance of participants’ ETS systems, as well as their satisfaction with its performance, will be monitored over the following two winters. This project is being conducted in close collaboration with our official project partners - Yukon Energy Corporation, Yukon Government's Energy Branch, and the Northern Energy Innovation (NEI) team at Yukon University (previously Yukon College) – whose support has been instrumental in getting this project off the ground. The contractor that will be performing the installations will be annouced shortly.

The objective of this demonstration project is to determine the suitability of ETS systems for use in northern Canadian communities like Whitehorse. The path to having more ETS systems across the north will be made clearer through our efforts to identify the benefits and challenges that ETS systems in the north provide.

Project Brochure

Check out our project brochure, found below, for an overview of the project and what registrants can expect. Printed copies of this brochure are available upon request to ets@yukonconservation.org or 867-668-5678 ext. 6.

Documents

ETS Project Brochure

This brochure provides an overview of the project, addresses some frequently asked questions, and outlines what project registrants and participants should expect from the project.

Related News & Events

Data Collection

Wondering what data will be collected for our ETS demonstration project and by whom? Look no further!

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ETS Glossary

Definitions of terms used in our ETS material identified using italic text.

If you would like clarification on any of these terms or any other terms in our online material feel free to reach out to our project intern at etsintern@yukonconservation.org.

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Registration

Registration for our electric thermal storage demonstration project is now open! If you have reviewed the project's eligibility criteria and think you would be a good candidate, click "Read More" to register.

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