A new study based on wind data taken from Canadian weather balloon stations has shown there are significant wind resources available to many Nunavut communities.
In a report published earlier this month and prepared for the Qulliq Energy Corporation, which is owned by the Government of Nunavut, author Dr. Jean-Paul Pinard concluded that “There is enough wind data available from Environment Canada weather balloon stations and from community airports to confirm that there is a significant wind resource in many Nunavut communities.” The study was the result of a Request for Proposal made by the Qulliq Energy Corporation which, in cooperation with the Government of Nunavut, believe wind energy technology could help to “enhance and diversify the existing electricity infrastructure in Nunavut” and transition it away from reliance upon diesel electricity generation.
According to the data at the heart of the report, in more than half of the Nunavut communities the annual average wind resources at 25 meters above ground level is upwards of 7 meters per second, equivalent to approximately 25 kilometers per hour.
Taking into account the chilly temperatures of the Nunavut regions, Pinard also identified two companies that make wind turbines capable of operating at temperatures as low as -40°C. Additionally, battery-based systems are also available that would work throughout the region.
Pinard concluded that the Iqaluit community was best located to serve as the test-case for a project involving large wind turbines, with capital costs ranging from about $35.2 million to $68.6 million depending on project size, and with a return on equity (ROE) of 14.5% or more. The resulting levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) could be as low as $0.15/kWh, and a hybrid system LCOE may be as low as $0.297/kWh.
The report commissioned for the Qulliq Energy Corporation was published simultaneously with a WWF-sponsored report dealing with the integration of renewable energy sources into Nunavut communities electricity grids. The report, conducted by the Waterloo Institute of Sustainable Energy (WISE) of the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, “demonstrated how an initial investment in a mix of renewable energy in northern communities can lead to immense carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions reduction and significant Operations and Maintenance (O&M) savings.”
Specifically, the WWF-sponsored report determined that a renewable energy penetration of at least 35% could be achieved for all the top five communities in Nunavut. In the study’s model, the Sanikiluaq community was found to have the highest percentage of CO2 emissions reduction of 53.2%, and also the maximum savings on operation & maintenance costs following the integration of renewable energy into its energy plan.