Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Around the Arctic January 05, 2017 - 7:00 am

Combine diesel, renewable energy for big savings, Nunavut study says

“The smart investment would be into renewable hybrid energy sources”

This maps shows the six Arctic communities that the University of Waterloo researchers chose for its study on diesel-renewable hybrid energy generation. Five of the communities are in Nunavut and a sixth, Sachs Harbour, is in the Northwest Territories.
This maps shows the six Arctic communities that the University of Waterloo researchers chose for its study on diesel-renewable hybrid energy generation. Five of the communities are in Nunavut and a sixth, Sachs Harbour, is in the Northwest Territories.

Cleaner, greener energy could mean millions of dollars in savings for Nunavut communities and more self-reliance from the South, according to a new study by a team of researchers from the University of Waterloo. 

And the “stars are aligning” in Nunavut for just such a move towards renewable energy sources, said Paul Crowley, the World Wildlife Fund’s Arctic director, on Jan. 4.

The WWF sponsored the study, which was researched and written by the Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy.

“Knowing Nunavut’s energy infrastructure is in need of renewing, and there has to be investment in that infrastructure soon, we can invest smartly in our future. The smart investment would be into renewable hybrid energy sources,” Crowley, a longtime Iqaluit resident, told Nunatsiaq News from Ottawa Jan. 4.

That’s the same conclusion reached by the Waterloo researchers, who issued a joint news release with WWF in December 2016.

The researchers studied five Nunavut communities they believe hold the greatest potential for benefiting from a move to renewable energy.

Those communities are Arviat, Baker Lake, Iqaluit, Rankin Inlet and Sanikiluaq.

Over 20 years, communities could cut down on greenhouse gas emissions by a range of 26 per cent (Iqaluit) to 74 per cent (Baker Lake), according to the study.

And those communities could save between $9.3 million (Arviat) to $29.7 million (Iqaluit) in energy costs, the researchers said.

The study used factors like the age of current energy infrastructure, the availability of local renewable energy, future demand for energy and the cost of transporting fuel.

For each community, researchers designed a potential hybrid energy system, drawing on local renewable sources and existing diesel generating plants.

But those plants are near the end of their life in almost every Nunavut community.

With such a strong business case for renewable energy, the economic benefits of moving to greener energy “are too significant to ignore,” WWF’s president, David Miller, said in the Dec. 22 release.

“We know it leads to massive savings… and we know it’s better for the environment. What communities need now is funding to support rapid renewable-energy deployment,” Miller said.

How to finance new energy projects in Nunavut was one of the main issues raised at the pan-Arctic renewable energy summit the WWF co-hosted with governments in Iqaluit in September, Crowley said. 

Public funds from the federal government should play an important role in Nunavut, where funds for capital projects are especially hard to find, he added.

That’s why the WWF has lobbied Ottawa to set up a renewable energy fund similar to one the United States government has created in Alaska.

“That really prompted the transition to renewable energy in Alaska,” Crowley said.

Over 60 communities in Alaska, whose climates and remote locations are comparable to Nunavut communities, use some form of renewable energy.

“It’s not experimental—the transition can be done in a systematic way that has already been proven to work in other places under very similar conditions.”

But the Government of Nunavut should look at running pilot projects in a few Nunavut communities in just such a systematic way, said Crowley.

It would make more sense to study the potential for local renewable energy sources before running a hydro line from Manitoba into the Kivalliq region, as has been long proposed, the director said.

And Crowley pointed out that the Waterloo researchers found renewable energy can be just as reliable as more popular energy sources like diesel.

“We feel very confident that our studies show that Arctic communities can technically and economically depend on renewable energy,” the study’s chief investigator, Claudio Canizares, said in December.

  Full Report, Feasibility of Renewable Energy in the Arctic by NunatsiaqNews on Scribd


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(13) Comments:

#1. Posted by 50 Plus on January 05, 2017

Do you really think the federal government is ready to make investments in Nunavut?  Southern Canadians think we are already getting too much money from the feds PER CAPITA.  Many of our fellow Canadians do not want to see anymore funds directed at Nunavut and they don’t want our territory developed….just keep us in the backburner for another 50 plus years, right?

#2. Posted by ENOUGH on January 05, 2017

Tell us something we don’t already know! There is NO appetite with current GN/QEC to move forward with any alternative energy solutions.  A lot of monies was already spent on assessment, feasibility studies and NOTHING. This includes the Iqaluit Hydro Project.
What (Iqaluit Hydro Project) would have cost less than $200M to construct a few years ago is now estimated to cost over $350 million due to folks in leadership not wanting to move forward.
So again a lot of talk and no action or lack thereof. Enough talk, studies, consultations or such what we need is ACTION.

#3. Posted by AL GORE on January 05, 2017

Plans , plans plans

#4. Posted by Enough on January 05, 2017

#2 totally bang on! Our leaders unfortunately have no vision nor the desire to make our lives better.

#5. Posted by Putuguk on January 05, 2017

Renewable energy transition in the provinces is being achieved through economic activity and growth.

Provinces have the revenues to spend, or have enough revenues to forgo taxes to renewable producers to subsidize startups and early operations. 

Since begging Ottawa does not equate to governance, there is no appetite at GN or QEC for renewables for these plain, simple facts.

Few revenues, no choice to subsidize, not even enough money for diesel technology. 

Sure, Alaska invested in renewables - it has oil and gas, fishing, forestry, mining and tourism revenue to spend.

WWF needs to back up a bit to the more fundamental issue; Nunavut must develop economically so we can pay for the things we need such as this.

Tell us, how many cruise ships must visit, how many seal skins must we sell, how many packs of smokes taxed, how many beer stores must we open, to afford these diesel-wind-battery systems?

#6. Posted by Jim MacDonald on January 05, 2017

Before everyone jumps up and down cheering on wind farms, it’s time Gov of NU do their own Green wind-farm Nunavut Cost Benefit Analysis (Hamlet by Hamlet).  Maybe discover it will be beneficial to keep on updating current generating plants and not blow money on wind farms. 

Because southern Municipality councils are standing up against wind farms by banning them in their counties.

Stating electricity becomes more expensive:  Wind turbines are expensive, costly to repair, life span usage short, lack of storage, unable to maintain base load, thus still need power plant operating to switch immediately to maintain base load.

Plus large number of bird kills, human health issues, noise and nuisance issues of wind farms.

BTW - Happy New Year

#7. Posted by View from the south on January 05, 2017

#1 has a good point, most of us down here in the south already think the north gets enough money, we really don’t understand the living conditions or the cost of doing business up north but we still think you receive too much already.
We think it’s already too expensive here in the south and if we could we would probably move to Florida or somewhere warmer.
We don’t bother looking at the rest of the country.
Maybe this news outlet can do a story on how the Canadian North is supported by Canada and compare that to other Northern countries.
Happy New Years!

#8. Posted by Wind power on January 06, 2017

Wind, lots of wind up here, why aren’t we tapping into wind power?

#9. Posted by AL GORE on January 06, 2017

Because , Wind power , we live on handouts, it cost $$$ to put up Infrastucture.

#10. Posted by My mom's story on January 06, 2017

Wind is not feasible in the Canadian North. We simply don’t have the resources to maintain a wind system that must operate reliably in -40 then switch to +30 in the summer. Lubricating oils for moving parts is the biggest challenge as well for the existing systems.

#11. Posted by Windsurfer on January 06, 2017

#10 I don’t think that is accurate, Iqaluit and southern Baffin is about the same temperature as southern Manitoba in the winter, in fact Winnipeg gets colder than Iqaluit during the winter.
The wind farms seem to be operating normally in southern Manitoba and Sask.
There has been a lot of advancement in windfarms over the last few years, I am sure it would work just find up there too.

#12. Posted by My mom's story on January 06, 2017

We don’t have ready access to resources to maintain them. That means people, roads, equipment. Winnipeg has all of those plus. Trust me I’m accurate. I have watched as each and every one of QEC’s test turbines have failed; the last being Rankin Inlet which blew through 4 sets of blades and plenty of bearings. QEC tests started in the 80’s in Cambridge Bay, then Kugluktuk and on.

#13. Posted by Windsurfer on January 07, 2017

Again #12 in the last few years wind farm technology has made some great advances, those test you talk about from QEC are 10-15 years ago using much older technology.
Recourses can be brought in, just like the giant German diesel generators that operate in Nunavut today and the people to maintain them, training to maintain the wind farms,
It is more possible than what you might think.

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