Photo credit: Qikiqtaaluk Corporation
The community of Sanikiluaq has started commissioning a wind farm that will include 10 wind turbines to cut the diesel fuel usage for the community in half. The $13 million investment may be operational as early as 2023. The community has been monitoring wind speeds and directions since 2017 through a meteorological evaluation tower. The data from this tower proved that wind power is a feasible option for the community and can help them transition off diesel fuel.
The wind turbines will be constructed some distance from the community and will require a new road to be constructed in 2022. The plan is to install ten wind turbines, each with a capacity of 100 kW, and battery storage of up to 800 kW. The turbines being purchased for this project will be specifically designed for the Arctic environment and remote deployment, with the turbines being able to be constructed using local equipment. This is especially unique as most wind turbines commercially available require large equipment including cranes to be used to construct and perform maintenance on wind turbines. The project is also owned through a regional-community ownership model, maximizing the local social and economic benefits from the project.
Nunavut is not unfamiliar with wind projects, in fact Nunavut has some of the best wind resources in all of Canada, however previous wind projects have not been overly successful. Qulliq Energy Corporation (QEC) installed wind turbines in Cambridge Bay and Kugluktuk in the 1990’s but by 2002, neither turbine was functioning. Similarly, QEC installed a wind turbine in Rankin Inlet however it was also eventually decommissioned. The difference between those projects and new projects, like the one in Sanikiluaq is the wind turbine technology. In the 90’s and early 2000’s, the turbine technology was not specifically created for Arctic conditions, but now turbines have heating and anti-icing technology, built to keep the turbine functioning even in extremely cold temperatures. With new technology, comes new opportunities for all communities in Nunavut.
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