The Inuvik Wind Project, having been approved in 2018, is making headway as construction kicks off for the key initiative of the 2030 Energy Strategy in the Northwest Territories (NWT).
“We are pleased to see the Inuvik Wind Project enter into the next phase and the utilization of Gwich’in businesses for its construction,” said Ken Kyikavichik, Grand Chief of the Gwich’in Tribal Council. “The reduction in greenhouse gases and associated carbon footprint from fossil fuel power generation in the Beaufort-Delta can only assist in combating global climate change – the effects of which we face on a daily basis.”
Having started on a 6.25-kilometre access road in January (which is a part of the project plan), the work is being done by Northland Builders (a Gwich’in business).
The wind project, which received $30 million dollars in funding from the federal, will include the set up of a single 3.5-megawatt wind turbine and small battery storage system that will both assist in reducing diesel consumption in the NWT community by 30 per cent.
A distribution line is also planned, connecting to existing lines near Inuvik’s Mike Zubko Airport.
All of these elements of the wind project will seek he reduce greenhouse gas emissions (6,000 tonnes per year) while providing opportunities for northern businesses during construction.
Bruno Pereira, chief projects and engineering officer for NT Energy said there are estimates that “based on wind and local parameters, we can save about 3 million litres of diesel a year.”
With regards to complaints that were made during the course of the wind projects development, going back to 2020, the Nihtat Gwich’in Council commented on the impact of the wind tribune on reindeer grazing in the area.
According to Kyikavichik, these disputes were resolved in 2021.
“The concerns were alleviated to the extensive environmental review that was undertaken by the Northwest Territories Energy Corporation,” he said. “There was a traditional knowledge study that was conducted in collaboration with Gwich’in communities.”
These complaints address and progress moving steadily along, the Inuvik wind project is aiming for full operation in early 2023.