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Tentative location found for Inuvik wind turbine study

A tentative location for a wind turbine feasibility study has been found approximately seven kilometers off of the Dempster highway and east of Inuvik, said Mayor Jim McDonald.

Stewart Burnett/NNSL photo
Inuvik Mayor Jim McDonald said he thinks the wind turbine project will help reduce Inuvik’s carbon footprint.

“That is looking like a good location, but they want to get a bit more data before they make a decision,” McDonald said. “But it looks like it will be a good location for a wind farm.”

On Dec. 19, 2017, the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor) announced it would invest $950,000 to explore the feasibility of using one or more wind turbines and energy storage devices in Inuvik.

MP Michael McLeod announced the funding on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development. McLeod said this investment is a significant contribution to the advancement of clean technology in the North.

“I’m very pleased that the Government of Canada is investing in this feasibility study, which could lead to the first large-scale wind turbine above the Arctic Circle in Canada,” McLeod said.

Although the project is between three and five years away from completion, McDonald said he thinks the project is a good idea.

“I support it. It would reduce our carbon footprint, and once they bring in carbon taxes, it would make a difference in our community,” McDonald said. “One concern is that the tundra, where the winds are the strongest, is also where ice build-up is considerable.”

However, McDonald said there is time to find a solution to overcome ice build-up, should that become an issue.

Should the wind turbine project be deemed feasible and is implemented, between 18 and 28 per cent of the diesel energy could be replaced by wind energy in Inuvik. According to a press release from the Government of Canada, this could save between $1.6 million and $3 million in fuel costs.

“We have to do everything we can to limit the cost of energy,” McDonald said. “The cost of energy contributes to the cost of everything else.”