Raglan mine’s wind energy project gets support from Quebec
“Our measurements indicate that Nunavik has one of the richest wind resources in the world"
The Glencore Group’s Raglan Mine in Nunavik is one step closer to turning wind into energy.
The government of Quebec on July 14 announced funding of $6.5 million for Tugliq Energy Co., the Quebec-based company that will install wind turbines at the mine site and a wind energy storage system.
The pilot project is aimed at reducing the amount of diesel needed to run generators at the mine site by installing a three megawatt wind turbine coupled with a 1.8 MW diesel generator.
It’s estimated that the project could mean a reduction of 2.5 million litres of diesel per year.
But the pilot will also help evaluate the potential of wind energy for powering Nunavik’s other diesel-dependent communities.
“The energy costs to operate a mine in this region are significant,” said Luc Blanchette, Quebec’s minister for mines, in a July 14 release.
“The ability to reduce these costs by providing renewable energy while reducing greenhouse gas emissions in an Arctic environment is quite a feat. This opens opportunities for communities and new industrial projects in the North. “
In 2012, the mine announced plans to install enough turbines to yield six megawatts of power, enough to meet about 30 per cent of the mine’s power needs when the turbines are operating at full capacity.
But Raglan’s energy needs have grown since then, as Glencore has moved to expand the mining complex over the last two years.
The expansion hopes to increase nickel concentrate production to 32,000 tonnes a year by 2014.
Tugliq, the company that will install and operate the wind turbines and storage system, first received $3.6 million for the project from the government’s EcoPerformance program earlier this year.
The rest of the funding announced July 14 comes from the Quebec government’s 2013-2020 Action Plan on Climate Change.
And during a visit to the mine site last year, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced $700,000 in funding to study the project.
If the project moves ahead, the wind energy project could be operating at the mine by March 2016.
Pierre Rivard, president and CEO of Tugliq Energy, said the wind power project should be of interest to neighbouring communities.
“Our measurements indicate that Nunavik has one of the richest wind resources in the world, a resource that has remained untapped until now,” Rivard said. “We believe that by rethinking the way we do things and focusing on Quebec’s know-how, we can truly meet the needs of industrial and northern communities.”
A Hydro Québec presentation in 2011 revealed there were seven communities in Nunavik that had enough wind to produce wind energy, with some already slated for pilot wind farms.
Hydro Quebec would own Nunavik’s windmills, which would then convert wind to electricity for use in the communities.