Significant savings in renewable energy in remote, northern communities, study finds

Results shared at Arctic Renewable Energy Summit in Iqaluit

IQALUIT, NU, Sept. 16, 2016 /CNW/ - Hybridized electricity production that includes renewable energy is projected to be less expensive than business-as-usual in some northern communities, researchers at the Waterloo Institute of Sustainable Energy have found.  That's in addition to the environmental benefits of reducing reliance on fossil-fuel-generated electricity.

These preliminary findings are being shared at the Arctic Renewable Energy Summit – co-hosted by the Federal Government, Government of Nunavut, Qulliq Energy Corporation and WWF-Canada – in Iqaluit. The full study, commissioned by WWF-Canada, will be released in October.

A pre-feasibility study released earlier this year found that investment in a mix of renewable energy in remote northern communities could lead to significant reductions in diesel use and in diesel power-plant operations and maintenance costs. This feasibility study provides a deeper level of analysis, confirms those results and offers numbers on savings to be found.  

Key findings for the Nunavut community of Sanikiluaq: 

  • Almost 50 per cent renewable energy penetration will lead to a 35 per cent reduction in diesel use and savings of close to $2-million over 10 years in overall costs (capital, operations and maintenance, fuel cost – upwards of 10 per cent of overall costs).

Key findings for the Nunavut community of Arviat:

  • Close to 60 per cent renewable energy penetration will result in a cost reduction of approximately $2.5-million over 10 years (approx. 10 per cent savings, in terms of overall costs) and almost 40 per cent reduction in diesel use.

Other conclusions:

  • In all communities, renewable energy deployment reduces diesel fuel consumption, a stated goal of the Canadian government.
  • Wind power is the preferred renewable energy option for all communities.
  • The 20-year results are even better.

Paul Crowley, WWF-Canada's VP Arctic conservation, says:

"As a longtime resident of Iqaluit, I count on the lights coming on in February.  This evidence should give everyone confidence in moving forward with renewable energy – and the time is right, as Nunavut is facing decisions about replacing costly diesel generators. Renewable energy is a cleaner, more sustainable energy source that gives our communities independence and is better for the Arctic environment."

David Miller, WWF-Canada's President and CEO, says:

"The science shows us that deploying renewable energy in the North is more cost-effective than continuing with solely diesel-powered electricity generation. This is the kind of information communities can use to make critical infrastructure decisions."

Dr. Claudio Canizares, lead researcher, University of Waterloo, says:

"All the numbers from different perspectives and different analysis techniques point to the same results. We are even more confident that investing in renewables makes sense."

Next steps:

The full study will be released in October after even more wind turbine models are taken into account, and a 20-year span is considered for all scenarios and in all communities.

WWF-Canada is working to see large-scale, habitat-friendly renewable energy projects in at least three northern communities by 2020.

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

About Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy
The Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy (WISE)  of the University of Waterloo is comprised of 90+ world-class faculty working in all technical, economic and policy aspects of the development of sustainable energy solutions, with multidisciplinary teams that include hundreds of graduate students and post-doctoral fellows, and state-of-the-art facilities with an impressive range of research and testing equipment. WISE, in the context of Waterloo's culture of innovation, connects faculty members with the right people and opportunities to establish successful partnerships with industry, government and non-profit organizations, as well as multinationals and research organizations with campuses and offices around the world.

SOURCE WWF-Canada

For further information: Sarah MacWhirter, senior manager, strategic communications, smacwhirter@wwfcanada.org, +1 416-347-1894.

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