Construction on $60M hydro line to Fort Providence and Kakisa to begin in 2023

Once built, the transmission line would reduce greenhouse gas emissions from diesel fuel by 2.75 kilotonnes, said government officials.

Project would 'eliminate the use of diesel' in both communities, said infrastructure minister

The south valley spillway on the Taltson River. Power from the Taltson hydroelectric transmission system is expected to reach Fort Providence and Kakisa in the fall of 2023. (N.W.T. Power Corporation )

Hydroelectric power could be coming to Fort Providence and Kakisa in the N.W.T. as soon as fall 2023. 

The federal and territorial governments committed to funding a long-promised, $60 million transmission line on Friday that would connect both communities to the Taltson hydroelectric transmission system. 

Once built, it would reduce greenhouse gas emissions from diesel fuel by 2.75 kilotonnes — which represents 15 per cent of the territory's overall goal to reduce diesel emissions by 18 kilotonnes by 2030. 

The federal government said it would spend up to $45 million from its Arctic Energy Fund on the project, while the territory is kicking in up to $15 million. 

Construction is slated to begin as early as spring 2023, and would end in the fall of the same year. 

"This project would essentially eliminate the use of diesel for electrical generation in the communities ... except for emergency back up," said Diane Archie, the territory's minister of infrastructure. It would also bring hydro to the Dory Point, a day use area along the Mackenzie River near Fort Providence.

"There's already enough power available at the Taltson to be able to meet the needs of Fort Providence and Kakisa, and the GNWT plans to take advantage of that instead of letting it go unused."

The system would also reduce the cost of living and power for N.W.T. residents, said Archie, and provide hydro that is clean, renewable and good for the environment. 

"Access to reliable sources of energy is essential for northern communities to thrive," said Michael McLeod, the territory's MP. "It'll also help us recover from the crisis by creating jobs and promoting economic growth at a time when our country needs it." 

In order to reach its overall goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from diesel fuel by 25 per cent in 2030, Robert Sexton, the N.W.T.'s director of energy, said the territory has other projects on the goal as well. 

That includes a wind project in Inuvik and plans to connect Whati to the Snare hydro system, he said.