Greenland to Nunavut electricity exports? It just might be possible
Study finds undersea transmission cable could supply hydro-electricity to Iqaluit
A study released in November 2015 says Greenland could generate enough hydro-electricity to supply its own needs and export excess power to Nunavut or Newfoundland through an undersea cable.
The “pre-feasibility report,” written by Arne Villumsen for the Nuuk-based Greenland Innovation Centre, explores the possibility of a North Atlantic Energy Network (NAEN) linking Iceland with the Shetland Islands, Greenland and Canada.
According to the report, Greenland now supplies hydroelectricity, meaning electricity generated by flowing water, to six of its towns, including the country’s capital, Nuuk, from five hydroelectric plants.
It also produces energy by incinerating waste, though these two sources do not eliminate its need for imported fuel products.
Greenland has studied hydro potential since 1976 and, although potentially viable, NAEN suggests that more detailed studies are needed to determine if developing more hydro power might be economically feasible in the future.
Greenland faces the same situation that Iceland did 30 years ago in needing to determine if developing more electricity generation can pay off down the road, Villumsen said.
Making the project feasible means tapping into non-domestic markets to sell excess power, including Europe by way of Iceland, and also to North America.
An 800-kilometre undersea cable from Nuuk to Iqaluit is a possibility but “further investigations and discussions with the authorities of Nunavut are needed to describe the potential, the social acceptance, and rentability of a connection between Greenland and Iqaluit,” the report said.
Greenland also could tap into a larger market via Labrador’s Muskrat Falls development, currently under construction, Villumsen said, and electricity from Nuuk could flow into a network selling power to eastern Canada and the United States via 1,100-km undersea cable.