The Government of Canada is contributing more than $3.5 million toward two clean energy projects that are being developed by the Nihtat Corporation, which will help Northern communities reduce their diesel consumption and move toward reliance on renewable energy.
Michael McLeod, the MP for the Northwest Territories, was in Inuvik on March 5, where he revealed that the federal government will invest $3.3 million to help the Nihat Corporation complete its first project, which will install solar panels in various businesses in Iqaluit, Nunavut and Gwich’in residences in Inuvik.
“Through this project, we will generate 1.25 megawatts of new renewable electricity each spring and summer, which will cut local diesel consumption by more than 380,000 litres each year,” he said. “It’s a win-win project that will enhance our economic prospects while improving our environmental performance.”
Jozef Carnogursky, the president of the Nihtat Corporation, said that 32 homeowners in Inuvik will have solar panels installed on their roofs, which will help to provide warmth and light to the homes through “clean, reliable and affordable energy,” he said.
“While the Nihtat Corporation is a profit entity, this project is strictly for the benefit of the homeowners,” Carnogursky said. “This project has always been geared toward helping our homeowners to reduce cost of living, as well as to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
He added that the solar installations can provide up to 88 per cent of the household’s power, and that the 32 installations combined will generate more than 200,000 kilowatts of energy per year, at the average price of 31 cents per kilowatt hour.
“From a monetary value perspective, this equates to average savings of over $2,000 a year for each household, or over $50,000 in savings over 25 years for each household,” he said. “For the 32 homes combined, there are predicted savings of over $1.6 million over that same time period.”
The project will help to create two full-time jobs in the community to help support the operation and maintenance of the facilities, and Carnogursky said that local businesses such as the Mackenzie Hotel and the Northmart will also have solar panels installed.
“When our families arrive at the Northmart, they will be stopping at a facility that is doing its part to reduce greenhouse gasses emissions through solar energy provided from the Nihtat Corporation,” he said. “The solar array owned by the Nihtat Gwich’in will provide 25 per cent of Northmart power requirements.”
The second announcement that McLeod made was the federal government’s funding of $220,000 for the Nihtat Corporation’s study into the various options for wood pellet plant development, wood-based biomass opportunities and biomass supply chain enhancements in the Beaufort Delta Region.
“Our government, again through Natural Resources Canada, will fund the entire cost of the study, with the goal of tapping into opportunities in all three territories to reduce fossil fuel in the North and further strengthen our environmental footprint,” McLeod said.
The study will look at the different ways that biomass can be used as a healthy and economical choice for heating, with the goal to help to reduce costs and greenhouse gas emissions.
“Together, the two projects we are announcing today will help to lead us into a cleaner, brighter and more prosperous future, for generations to come,” he added.