Town in Canadian central Arctic to get hybrid solar-diesel power plant

Kugluktuk, in Canada’s Nunavut territory. (Hilary Bird/CBC)
Kugluktuk, in Canada’s central Arctic, will benefit from a portion of more than $27.8 million in new energy and water projects announced for the territory of Nunavut in Iqaluit Tuesday. The federal government is contributing $18.6 million toward four of those projects.

More than $6 million will go toward building a solar energy and storage system attached to the Kugluktuk power plant.

It will not only be Nunavut’s first hybrid solar and diesel power plant, but according to Bernadette Jordan, federal minister of rural economic development, it will be the first hybrid power plant in the circumpolar region.

Kugluktuk is north of the Arctic circle and has about 21 days of darkness in the winter, but according to the Travel Nunavut website, gets round-the-clock sunshine from May 27 to July 17.

New generators for six communities

The project announcements were made Tuesday at the Qulliq Energy Corporation office in Iqaluit, Nunavut. Bruno Pereira, president of the Qulliq Energy Corporation, said Kugluktuk is only the first of more greening projects to come.

“We wanted … to do this kind of work in the various communities,” Pereira said. “Kugluktuk is a good start but we are hoping to continue.”

David Akeeagok, deputy premier of Nunavut, left, Bruno Pereira president of the Qulliq Energy Corporation, and Bernadette Jordan, federal minister of rural economic development together announced more than $27.8 million for new energy and water projects in Nunavut on May 21 in Iqaluit. The federal government is contributing $18.6 million toward four projects. (Jackie McKay/CBC)

Pereira didn’t say which other communities they plan to do green energy projects in, or when the projects would start.

Seven diesel generators will also be replaced in the communities of Rankin Inlet, Coral Harbour, Chesterfield Inlet, Pond Inlet, Clyde River and Whale Cove, with Pond Inlet getting two generators.

The energy cooperation is contributing $7.6 million to replace these diesel generators, which are at end of life.

The Nunavut government will also give $1.6 million toward upgrading Kugaaruk’s sewage lagoon. The energy corporation will build a temporary wastewater management system for the lagoon in preparation for a permanent waste water treatment system.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Indigenous community in Northern Canada to offset diesel with solar panels, CBC News

Finland: The world could transition entirely to cheap, safe renewable energy before 2050: Finnish study, Yle News

Norway: The quest to turn Norway’s Arctic coast into Northern Europe’s wind power hub, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Italian firm to build giant wind farm in northwestern Russia, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: How Stockholm’s biggest solar cell complex came to be, Radio Sweden

United States: Despite winter darkness, solar power might work better in rural Alaska than you’d expect, Alaska Dispatch News

Jackie McKay, CBC News

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