Five years after plans were approved to build a replacement power plant in Cape Dorset, a site has finally been selected, says Nunavut's minister responsible for the Qulliq Energy Corporation.

The plan to build a new power plant in the community was approved in 2011, but Qulliq Energy only recently finalized the site on the outskirts of the town near the hamlet's tank farm.

QEC had planned to build the power plant next to the current one, which was built back in the 1960s and located in the downtown core. The plan was met with sharp criticism from hamlet residents who already complain of noise pollution and diesel exhaust coming from the existing one.

"There is a patch of land allocated to Quillq Energy and the geo-technical study has just been completed last week," said George Hickes, the minister responsible for QEC, in Nunavut's legislature on Friday.

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The old power plant, located in the downtown core, was built in the 1960s and is operating at capacity. (CBC)

"Our engineering and finance department are going over design plans to identify the exact footprint so that we can negotiate the land lease for the established site location with the Hamlet of Cape Dorset."

Power plant still years away

Hickes said construction would begin "as soon as possible" but Cape Dorset's MLA says it will be several years before it is up and running.

"In the next two years I'd hope to see them start the construction and again, that's going to take at least a year or two to get the construction completed," said South Baffin MLA Daivd Joanasie.

The new diesel power plant will replace the hamlet's current one which is operating at full capacity, curtailing growth in the community.

"The capacity of the power plant is limited so it's hard to add new public housing units, or any other units for that matter," Joanasie said. 

Once it is built, the new power plant is expected to operate for at least 40 years.