Feature Interview: Why wood pellets might help communities like Norman Wells and Inuvik in Canada’s North


Are biomass options like these wood pellets the answer? Photo: Eilís QuinnMuch of the headlines garnered by Canada’s northern territories has to do with energy. As climate change opens up the Arctic for exploration, an increasing number of companies have turned their sights on tapping the North’s rich energy reserves.

But despite this, two communities in Canada’s Northwest Territories have been making headlines for a very different reasons – they’re running out of energy.

Currently businesses and residences across the North are powered by diesel, an expensive and polluting fuel.

Inuvik, a town of approximately 3500 people in Canada’s Arctic, converted to natural gas but the local well is running out earlier than expected.

In Norman Wells,  a town of approximately 800 people, the gas reserves the town has relied on for years are running out.

But the questions remains, what’s the alternative? Increasingly, people are looking at Biomass as a possible answer.

Leanne Robinson, an Energy Management Specialist at the Arctic Energy Alliance, in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, has worked extensively in Norman Wells.

Earlier this year, she spoke with Radio Canada International’s Eilís Quinn.

To listen to their conversation, click here:  {play}/media/jukebox/LeanneFinal.

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn is a journalist and manages Radio Canada International’s Eye on the Arctic circumpolar news project. At Eye on the Arctic, Eilís has produced documentary and multimedia series about climate change and the issues facing Indigenous peoples in the circumpolar world. Her documentary Bridging the Divide was a finalist at the 2012 Webby Awards. Eilís began reporting on the North in 2001. Her work as a reporter in Canada and the United States, and as TV host for the Discovery/BBC Worldwide series "Best in China" has taken her to some of the world’s coldest regions including the Tibetan mountains, Greenland and Alaska; along with the Arctic regions of Canada, Russia, Norway and Iceland.

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