Sachs Harbour to get new diesel power plant

In Inuvik on Monday, N.W.T. MP Michael McLeod announced money for a new power plant. Permafrost research and an N.W.T. climate change cost assessment are also getting federal funding.

Money also announced for permafrost information database, climate change cost assessment

Robert C. McLeod, the N.W.T. minister of Environment and Natural Resources, N.W.T. MP Michael McLeod and Inuvik mayor Natasha Kulikowski were in Inuvik on Monday to announce federal funding for three projects. (Mackenzie Scott/CBC)

Sachs Harbor is getting a new diesel power plant to replace the existing 43-year-old facility.

The federal government is putting $7.4 million toward the new plant, and the territorial government is contributing $2.4 million.

"This project will provide residents and businesses of Sachs Harbor with a reliable source of energy which will increase the efficiency of electricity generation," said N.W.T. MP Michael Mcleod, who announced the funding in Inuvik on Monday.

He said the new plant will have "features that will allow it to better adapt to the impacts of climate change."

The funding is coming from the new Arctic Energy Fund, a pot of federal money meant to promote energy security in the North.

Sachs Harbour sits on the edge of the Arctic Ocean. It is the Northwest Territories' most northerly community. The territorial government hopes to eventually introduce wind energy to the hamlet. (Inuvialuit Community Economic Development Organization)

Andrew Stewart, the territorial government's energy director, said that the new plant will be a six kilowatt power plant, and it will be 18 per cent more efficient than the current system.

He said the modular plant will be built down south then sent north on a barge and installed in 2020.

The plan is to start integrating wind energy into the community the year after that.

"Backup diesel is required for every renewable solution that you want to install. In the case of wind, you are looking at 20 to 30 per cent of the annual energy capacity being met by renewables," said Stewart.

"You still need 70 to 80 per cent of the system to be met by the diesel plant. It's an important piece of the electricity system in the community."

Permafrost information database

Also on Monday, the federal government announced $800,000 from the Northern Transportation Adaptation Initiative, for permafrost research along the Dempster and Inuvik Tuktoyaktuk Highways, as well as a permafrost information database.

"Obviously permafrost and permafrost-related research are critical to understanding our infrastructure needs in the territory," said Stewart.

"Having a brand new highway from Tuktoyaktuk to Inuvik, and seeing how permafrost reacts over that corridor is going to be a really important opportunity to understand what's happening around us and also to start to make investments."

Andrew Stewart, the territorial government's director of energy, said the plan is to eventually introduce wind energy to Sachs Harbour. (Mackenzie Scott/CBC)

Stewart said that two-year project will focus on infrastructure science and the effects permafrost have on the highways.

Thirdly, $205,000 is going toward a project that assesses the costs of climate change in the N.W.T. over the next 20 years.

That money comes out of Natural Resources Canada's Climate Change Adaptation Program.


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