Inuvik wind farm part of latest N.W.T. plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

Part of the territorial government's plan is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions created by diesel-generated electricity by 25 per cent by 2030.

Draft energy plan sets goal to reduce GHG emissions created by diesel-generated electricity by 25 per cent

Wind turbines in operation north of Shelburne, Ont. The N.W.T. government says wind turbines could help curb Inuvik's dependence on diesel for electricity. (David Donnelly/CBC)

The Northwest Territories government says one of the biggest projects in its latest energy strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the territory is to install wind turbines in Inuvik.

In its Draft 2030 Energy Strategy, the territorial Department of Infrastructure says wind turbines weren't initially viable in the North but now, new technology means they'll work in extreme cold.

By 2030, the territorial government wants to reduce its 2015 greenhouse gas emissions created by diesel-generated electricity by 25 per cent. That's just one of the objectives in its new strategy.

Many small communities in the N.W.T. rely on diesel to generate their electricity; the territorial government says Inuvik relies on it the most. That's why a wind turbine farm, which would cost about $30 million, would make sense for that community. It's not clear exactly how many wind turbines would be installed.

The government also plans to install small wind turbines in two unspecified communities, as well as solar-panel storing projects in 12 communities. It also wants to connect Fort Providence, Kakisa and Whati to Yellowknife's hydroelectric system, which would cost about $80 million — its most expensive project in the energy strategy. 

$85 million in subsidies

Last year, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that by 2030, Canada needed to cut its 2005 greenhouse gas emission levels by 30 per cent. He also gave provinces and territories an ultimatum: by 2018, leaders must either commit to paying a carbon tax or create a cap-and-trade system, where there are economic incentives for people to start reducing their individual carbon footprint.

The N.W.T. government says it plans on putting aside $85 million for N.W.T. for subsidy programs that will make some renewable energy resources more affordable.

The territorial government hopes to partner with Indigenous governments to make it possible for wood pellets to be created in the communities.

It also wants to introduce a grant that would subsidize the cost of hybrid gasoline-electric vehicles. It also plans on helping businesses pay for in-line fuel heaters and auxiliary power heaters to keep their larger vehicles like transport trucks warm, reducing idling.

The government will also subsidize the solar systems it plans for 12 communities.