New alliance to bring renewable energy to remote communities in Canada's Arctic, WWF-Canada announces

Initial study of 17 Arctic communities to be released next month

IQALUIT, March 31, 2016 /CNW/ - World Wildlife Fund Canada has brought together six organizations to help remote Canadian Arctic communities transition to renewable energy and reduce dependence on importing hazardous and costly diesel fuel.

The initiative comes after a recent commitment from the leaders of Canada and the Unites States to end the use of diesel power generation in the Arctic and the latest Canadian federal budget allocated funds for renewable energy projects in indigenous and northern communities.

The Arctic renewable energy expert committee consists of the following organizations:

●        Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy (WISE)
●        Alaska Centre for Energy and Power (ACEP)
●        Borden Ladner Gervais LLP (BLG)
●        Qikiqtani Inuit Association (QIA)
●        Tugliq Energy Co.
●        Pembina Institute
●        World Wildlife Fund Canada (WWF-Canada)

The goal
The Arctic Renewable Energy Expert Committee, which consists of organizations spanning from Alaska to Iqaluit to Waterloo, Ont., will help bring scalable renewable-energy pilot projects to at least three northern communities by 2020.

The next step
In April of 2016, WWF-Canada will share the results of an assessment conducted with the Waterloo Institute of Sustainable Energy (WISE) to assess the renewable-energy potential and the associated reductions in diesel-fuel use for 13 communities in Nunavut and four communities in Inuvialuit Settlement Region of N.W.T.

Paul Crowley, WWF-Canada's vice-president of Arctic conservation, said:
"Diesel use in Arctic communities hurts the environment and costs a lot of money. It's not just the climate and air quality threats that we're concerned about, but the potential for oil spills when shipping the fuel north. By switching to habitat-friendly renewable energy, communities can become more self-reliant and will be protecting marine environments and the species that depend on them."

While the Arctic is one of the most challenging environments on the planet for renewable energy, there are successful examples in both Alaska and Canada that show the way for greater energy diversification in the Arctic. More than 70 communities in Alaska are on hybrid renewable systems that substantially reduce the need for diesel energy.

Gwen Holdmann, director of the Alaska Centre for Energy and Power, said:
"We have long been committed to helping Alaska utilities and communities reduce reliance on imported diesel fuel through strategies such as integrating local renewable resources. However, we recognize that the challenges we face, including the high cost of energy and complexity of delivering reliable services in remote, harsh environments, are common across the arctic. Sharing knowledge related to best practices for maximizing use of renewable energy and energy efficiency strategies is critical to make sure future systems take full advantage of the tremendous body of knowledge and expertise that exists across the Arctic."

Pierre Rivard, CEO of Tugliq Energy said:
"TUGLIQ is pleased to assist mines, communities and jurisdictions in diversifying an energy mix that will make them more robust and sustainable. Partnering can ensure that the best projects are being done, harnessing the richest wind resource in the most fragile eco-system."

Arctic energy facts
●        All of Nunavut's 25 communities and five out of six communities in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region in the Northwest Territories are dependent on diesel-generated electricity.
●        Raglan Mine in Nunavik, Que., has a three-megawatt wind turbine that has offset 3.3 million litres of diesel fuel in 18 months. That's equivalent to 9,300 tonnes of CO2 or taking 2,300 cars off the road for a year.

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 wildlife, nature and people thrive together. Because we are all wildlife. For more info visit wwf.ca

SOURCE WWF-Canada

For further information: Rebecca Spring, communications specialist, rspring@wwfcanada.org, +1-647-338-6274

RELATED LINKS
www.wwf.ca

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