More green energy is on its way to Inuvik as a three-year project just got a massive boost of cash from the federal government.

Nihtat Energy Ltd. has already been working on a solar farm project for three years, but Northern Affairs Minister Dan Vandal was in Inuvik Aug. 15 to announce a $5.586 million to boost the 1-megawatt projcet.

“This project demonstrates the value of developing collaborative approaches to project planning and development in remote communities, which include local project developers and the utility,” said Nihtat Energy Ltd(NEL). CEO Grant Sullivan. “Throughout the planning process, NEL and Northwest Territories Power Corporation worked together closely to ensure the project was developed in a manner that would maintain safe and reliable service and also reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) on the Inuvik grid.

“This joint effort will result in enhanced energy security for the residents of Inuvik, Northwest Territories, and ensure that the community will have a meaningful, ongoing role in mitigating the impacts of climate change.”

The funding, which is split between $1 million from Northern Responsible Energy Approach for Community Heat and Electricity (Northern REACHE), $397,000 from Natural Resources Canada(NRC)’s Indigenous Off-diesel Initiative and $4.189 million from NRC’s Clean Energy for Rural and Remote Communities program, is on top of $1.6 million in funding for the project from the Indigenous Off-diesel Initiative that was announced in January of 2021 and June of 2022.

Construction of the farm, which is built on land that would otherwise be unusable, is expected to be finished by the end of the year. When the solar array is operational, it’s expected to cut the regions GHGs by 380,000 metric tonnes and replace 434,000 litres, or over $1 million, in diesel costs each year.

It’s also anticipated the project will create six construction jobs and four part-time operation jobs.

Nihtat Energy has been prolific in bringing solar power to the Inuvik, having previously helped establish solar arrays powering Northmart, the Mackenzie Hotel, Inuvik Sattellite Station Facility and the Solar Residential Program.

“To lower emissions and fight climate change, we know that communities in all parts of Canada—especially Indigenous, rural, and remote communities—need greater access to affordable clean energy,” said Minister of Natural Resources Jonathan Wilkinson. “This is why the federal government is pleased to support projects like Nihtat Energy’s solar farm in Inuvik.

“This project will not only reduce reliance on diesel fuel and help sustain a healthier and more resilient community, but it will also create good, sustainable jobs and spur the development of a local low-carbon economy.”

Eric Bowling

Your source for all things happening in the Beaufort Delta. Eric jumped at the chance to write for the Inuvik Drum after cutting his teeth in Alberta. He enjoys long walks, loud music and strong coffee....

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