Federal government to fund Northern infrastructure and research projects

Funding from the federal government will go towards a new power plant and climate change research projects

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The Government of Canada will be funding numerous infrastructure and research projects throughout the Northwest Territories, which includes contributions to the construction of a new diesel power plant in Sachs Harbour, as well as financing research projects on climate change and permafrost.

Michael McLeod, the MP for the Northwest Territories, made the announcements in Inuvik’s Midnight Sun Complex on March 4. The first item that he addressed was the new plant in Sachs Harbour, where he said the federal government will be contributing up to $7.4 million toward the construction of the project, in addition to the territorial government’s $2.4 million.

“This project will provide residents and businesses of Sachs Harbour with a reliable source of energy which will increase the efficiency of electricity generation,” he said.

The new modernized plant, he continued, will replace the existing 43-year-old facility and will have features that will “allow it to better adapt to the impacts of climate change,” he said.

“Residents will have a renewed source of energy that they can depend on to generate heat and electricity in their community for years to come,” he added.

The new plant will be funded through the federal government’s new Arctic Energy Fund, which helps to strengthen energy security in Northern communities.

Michael McLeod, the MP for the Northwest Territories, was in Inuvik on March 4, where he announced the federal government’s funding contributions to a new diesel power plant in Sachs Harbour, as well as investments in research projects revolving around climate change and permafrost. Aaron Hemens/NNSL Photo
Michael McLeod, the MP for the Northwest Territories, was in Inuvik on March 4, where he announced the federal government’’s funding contributions to a new diesel power plant in Sachs Harbour, as well as investments in research projects revolving around climate change and permafrost. Aaron Hemens/NNSL Photo

Andrew Stewart, the territorial government’s energy director, said that the old facility was in need of replacement, adding that it was past the end of its life.

“We’ll put in a 600 kilowatt, three-unit power plant that will be 18 per cent more efficient than the existing system, improve reliability, and also set the stage for wind integration in the next couple of years once the wind resource assessment is complete,”  Stewart said.

McLeod also announced that the GNWT will receive $800,000 for a new climate change adaptation research project, which will be funded through the Northern Transportation Adaptation Initiative program.

“As part of this project, the GNWT will be able to research at test sites along the Dempster and Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk highways,” he said. “It will also develop, manage and share a database on permafrost information along the highway corridors.”

Stewart said that permafrost related research projects are critical in terms of understanding the territory’s infrastructure needs.

“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,” Stewart said.

The final announcement that McLeod made was the federal government’s $205,000 in funding toward the GNWT’s “Estimated Cost Implications of Climate Change in the Northwest Territories” project, which will assess the cost of climate change impacts in the NWT over the next 20 years.

He added that the project, which is being funded through Natural Resources Canada’s Climate Change Adaptation Program, will also look at the costs and benefits of actions to address climate change.

“This research will also support one of the three key pillars of the 2030 Northwest Territories Climate Change Strategic Framework,” he said. “This is the future that Canadians deserve and we look forward to building it with you.”

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