Renewable energy can power Nunavut’s future: Report | WWF-Canada

Renewable energy can power Nunavut’s future: Report

Posted on 19 September 2019
Kugaaruk’s solar array.
© Martha Lenio
Some communities could get nearly 50 per cent of their energy from renewables right now

IQALUIT, NU, Sept. 19, 2019 — In light of next week’s UN climate summit and IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate — not to mention the global climate strikes — transitioning to habitat-friendly renewable energy is more vital than ever. And it is possible, including in Nunavut which is currently almost 100 per cent diesel-powered.

A new study commissioned by WWF-Canada in partnership with ITP Renewables — a global expert in renewable energy strategy and analytics — looks at how alleviating the territory’s diesel dependency could be both environmentally responsible and fiscally feasible.

The report — with summaries available in English and Inuktitut — lays out scenarios for all 25 communities in Nunavut, showcasing the best types of renewable projects per area as well as different ratios of renewable-to-diesel generation.

For example, with 3,000 people and an appetite for diesel topping 10.5 million litres annually, Rankin Inlet is ripe for a renewable project today. By implementing a single 2.3-megawatt wind turbine and battery back-up, half of the diesel produced for electricity in this community could be displaced.

WWF-Canada continues to support the transition to habitat-friendly renewable energy in Nunavut by working in partnership with communities to develop energy cooperatives, offer training and educational opportunities, and provide energy expertise.

Dr. Martha Lenio, WWF-Canada's senior specialist on Arctic renewables, says:
“Factors like diverting unused electricity into heating, lower battery costs and better financing options make a significant difference in how we measure the feasibility of renewable projects. In fact, most communities are not far off from a financial case — even with oil prices very low. The challenge of transporting fuel by ship and the environmental benefits of reducing fuel consumption and carbon emissions make these projects even more appealing.”

Paul Okalik, WWF-Canada's senior advisor, Arctic conservation, says:
“The move towards habitat-friendly renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in Nunavut will result in a boost to green industry jobs in the territory. WWF-Canada is focused on providing green energy education and training programs for Nunavummiut so they can be energy transition leaders in their own communities.”

Key findings:
- Nearly half of the communities in Nunavut will become more attractive for renewable project development should low-interest access to capital be made available
- The most cost-effective carbon offset case was Iqaluit, where for every $1,000 invested in a 20 per cent renewable contribution, 2.1 tons per year of CO2 emissions could be abated;
- Rankin Inlet, Iqaluit, Baker Lake, Chesterfield Inlet, Coral Harbour and Sanikiluaq were identified as the best locations for further study on renewable energy development

For more information on the benefits of habitat-friendly renewable energy, read Martha’s Q&A on our blog.

About World Wildlife Fund Canada
WWF-Canada creates solutions to the environmental challenges that matter most for Canadians. We work in places that are unique and ecologically important, so that nature, wildlife and people thrive together. Because we are all wildlife. For more information, visit wwf.ca.

For further information, contact:
Joy D’Souza, senior communications specialist,  jdsouza@wwfcanada.org