In his new post, as Northern Energy Innovation Chair at Yukon College, Michael Ross will coordinate collaborative research into renewable energy by four Northern utilities: Yukon Energy, ATCO Electric, the Northwest Territories Power Corporation and Qulliq Energy. Each have pledged $50,000 a year for five years, matched by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.
With a focus on renewable energy solutions such as wind, solar, geothermal and small-scale hydroelectricity, the project has six priorities:
- reducing the use of diesel through renewable energy;
- researching energy storage such as batteries;
- finding ways to reduce diesel use at existing generators;
- comparing utility costs across the North;
- researching ‘what technologies can support the public in going off grid’;
- and researching smart meters which collect hourly data on energy use.
Green windpower reducing diesel use
Tugliq Energy, based in Montreal, claims its wind turbine installed in 2014 at Glencore’s Raglan Mine, Nunavik, has significantly lowered the mine’s use of diesel and minimized its carbon footprint. The turbine is specially equipped for the Arctic climate with a cold winter package that includes a blade heating by air convection. 2.2 Million liters of diesel have been saved in the first year of operation and 6400 tons of Greenhouse gases (GHG) have been reduced since turbine operation. Tugliq now wants to bring the same technology to mine sites in Nunavut and communities across the North.