Wind energy coming to Sanikiluaq
'Each of the communities has the potential to have a renewable resource in their backyard'
A $13 million wind turbine array could be up and running in Sanikiluaq, Nunavut, as early as the winter of 2023.
This week, Natural Resources Canada announced it's investing $6.5 million in the project, led by the Qikiqtaaluk Business Development Corporation (QBDC).
Sheldon Nimchuk, QBDC's director of project development and partnerships, says the federal government is willing to support these kinds of projects right now, which makes this the perfect time to be investing in clean energy projects.
"Each of the communities has the potential to have a renewable resource in their backyard," Nimchuk says.
The project has been in the works for some time, he says, starting with a wind monitoring project that saw a meteorological evaluation tower set up in the hamlet several years ago. The plan is to erect 10 wind turbines that will together cut the amount of diesel fuel the hamlet burns for power in half.
Nimchuk expects to start building a road for the project — which will be located some distance from the hamlet — as early as the sealift season of 2022. The wind turbines will likely arrive in the following year's sealift and would be erected and commissioned over "two or three months."
He hopes the project will create a handful of full-time jobs.
"I think that the demonstration of these projects will set in motion an opportunity for all of the communities to look at community scale, renewable projects where it might make sense and where the resources are accessible."
Johnnie Cookie is the mayor of Sanikiluaq, which has a population of 882.
"The community has supported this wind project and as the mayor I support it too," he told CBC.
Arviat solar, wind
In a news release this week, Natural Resources Canada also announced it would invest over $750,000 in NRStor Inc., an energy storage company, and the hamlet of Arviat, Nunavut, to study a wind and solar energy project.
Natural Resources Canada also gave $400,000 to the Nunavut government to develop "comprehensive community energy" plans.
The money comes from a broader federal plan to spend $300 million over five years "to give rural, remote and Indigenous communities currently reliant on diesel the opportunity to be powered by clean, reliable energy by 2030."