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N.W.T. looks at LNG power for Tuktoyaktuk after Inuvik's switch

The N.W.T. government is seeking proposals that would introduce LNG-fuelled power to Tuktoyaktuk in a practical and cost-effective way.

Territorial government issues request for proposals

The N.W.T. government is seeking proposals that would introduce LNG into Tuktoyaktuk in a practical and cost-effective way. (Submitted by Saville Anderson)

The N.W.T. government is looking into introducing LNG-fuelled power generation in Tuktoyaktuk, which currently relies on diesel fuel.

But the plan would depend on the completion of the all-season road from Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk in order to truck the gas there.

"Until the Tuk highway is done, there will be no opportunity to use the LNG solution that we are investigating," said Andrew Stewart, director of energy solutions with the Department of Public Works and Services.

"An actual decision on this project is years away. This will be part of just establishing a business case. It's part of our normal work to try and explore ways to decrease diesel consumption in our remote diesel communities."

The Northwest Territories Power Corporation began using LNG — liquefied natural gas — in Inuvik in February 2014. 

The government is seeking proposals that would introduce LNG to Tuktoyaktuk in a practical and cost-effective way. One of the challenges will be that, unlike Inuvik, Tuktoyaktuk does not currently have any gas-fuelled power plants.

Cheaper, cleaner

LNG fuel is both cheaper and cleaner, according to Stewart.

Since moving to LNG in Inuvik, he says about $1.8 million has been saved — roughly 20 to 25 per cent of the landed cost of diesel in that community.

The LNG plant now produces 25 to 40 per cent of the electricity in Inuvik, said Pam Coulter, a spokesperson for the Northwest Territories Power Corporation.

According to Stewart, transportation is the key bottleneck for getting more LNG.

"We only have four tankers that are compatible with LNG. They're specialized thermos trucks, and they are not readily available on the market," he said.

Right now, four tanker trucks supply LNG from Vancouver. Some has also been sourced from Grande Prairie, Alta., as well.

The request for proposal was posted on Oct. 31, and will be open for bids until Nov. 24.

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