The Off-Grid Monitor

This monitor summarizes all of the initiatives looking to tackle energy issues (including diesel reliance) in off-grid communities. All across Canada efforts are being made to address energy security in the communities most directly affected by climate change. The aim of this monitor is to help build the momentum these projects have already begun.

The monitor will be updated semi-annually.

Nunatsiavut, Newfoundland & Labrador: Energy Security Plan

An Energy Security Plan has been approved in Nunatsiavut, a region consisting of five Inuit communities along the North Coast of Labrador. The plan will reduce reliance on diesel fuel for electricity and heating, and make energy costs more affordable for residents and local businesses.  The Nunatsiavut Government will present the plan in December to the Newfoundland and Labrador, and Canadian governments. Given the geographic proximity of Nunatsiavut to Innu territory, the region’s Energy Security Plan may have linkages and relevance for the Innu communities of Natuashish and Sheshatshiu.

Iqaluit & Kuujjuaq, Nunavut & Nunavik: Climate Change Sessions

INAC’s REACHE Program organized Climate Change/Clean Energy consultations sessions in Iqaluit, Nunavut, and Kuujjuaq, Nunavik this fall.  The sessions reached out to local communities, territorial and regional governments, and other stakeholders.  The sessions focused on sharing information about clean energy and climate change initiatives and projects in the North, as well as obtaining input from Northern stakeholders for clean energy and climate change programming needs.

Inukjuak, Nunavik: Innavik Hydro Project Part of Quebec’s Plan Nord

A 7.5 MW hydro-for-diesel (heat and power) replacement project in Inukjuak, Nunavik is seeking funding and regulatory approvals to begin construction preparation in 2017.  The project, led by the Inuit agency Pituvik Landholding Corporation, has been in development for nine years, and has strong community support.  Pituvik and development partner Innergex are in active dialogue with the Quebec Government and Hydro Quebec.  All indications are that the project will be included in the province’s Plan Nord initiative.

Northern Ontario: Off-Grid Communities Transmission Connection

The major effort to connect 16-21 of Ontario’s 25 off-grid communities is moving to the next stage of implementation.  The Indigenous Board of Watay Energy has strengthened project capacity through partnerships with Fortis and RES.  Some regulatory issues have been clarified by Ontario, but several major regulatory and financing matters are still under consideration, and there is ongoing dialogue between governments.  The project will require major resources to execute an Environmental Impact Assessment, and related planning activities.

Winnipeg, Manitoba:  Canadian Federation Off-Grid Gathering

The Council of the Federation consisting of all provinces and territories had planned a mid-November 2016, two-day gathering focused on energy in off-grid communities as part of the Canadian Energy Strategy initiative.  The session reached out to Indigenous participants, and included federal involvement.  The meeting has been rescheduled, to January 2017.  There is significant Indigenous interest in participating in the session to dialogue on policy and program efforts to reduce diesel consumption, and promote Indigenous ownership of clean energy projects.

Manitoba Remote Communities

The Manitoba and Canadian governments have an on-going interest in exploring options for diesel reduction in the four remote Indigenous communities in the province. Diesel reduction options appear to need further review and examination, including detailed technical and economic planning to determine project viability, lead roles, Indigenous participation, and technological options, among others factors.

Alberta Remote Communities

As part of its long-term energy planning innovations related to energy diversification, coal phase-out and climate change, the Alberta government is very open diesel-reduction initiatives in the seven off-grid communities in the province.  As the clean energy efforts of the province become more defined, specific support for off-grid diesel reduction can be expected.

Western Provinces, Indigenous Clean Energy Initiative

The federal government has collaborated with Western provinces and territories on the Indigenous Clean Energy Initiative. Federal support is managed through Western Diversification in collaboration with the New Relationship Trust (an Indigenous organization).  Several off-grid Indigenous communities in B.C. and the Yukon are seeking support for various off-grid diesel reduction efforts.  Support for Indigenous communities in the Interior, the West Coast and the North are expected to move forward.

Yukon Territory: Kluane Wind and Old Crow Solar-Storage

Two off-grid communities in the Yukon Territory are moving towards implementation, if funding can be secured: a wind-diesel hybrid system in the Kluane First Nation, and a solar-storage system in the remote community of Old Crow.  The projects are led by 2016 20/20 Catalysts: JP Pinard in Kluane and Rosa Brown for the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation.

NWT: Inuvik Wind Project

The Government of NWT has supported NT Power in conducting an analysis of wind energy for Inuvik.  The Nihtit Gwich’in Corporation has a strong interest in the project and is conducting some of the technical work for the project feasibility study.

NWT: Innovus Power Demonstration

While most efforts at diesel reduction are focused on energy efficiency and renewables, there is also a case to be made for advanced efficiency diesel systems.  NT Power will be introducing a technology from California-based Innovus Power in a NWT community in the first quarter of 2017.  The variable, low speed drive Innovus engine has the potential to reduce diesel fuel consumption by 20-30%.  Results should be available in late 2017, early 2018.

NWT: Action on Climate Change & Indigenous Inclusion

Several of the Indigenous Tribal groups in the NWT are beginning to collaborate on how First Nation communities in the Territory can play a leadership role in terms of action on Clean Energy and Climate Change.  Outreach has begun with collaborators such as the Boreal Initiative and Tides Canada to define a Sustainable Energy Vision and Plan for off-grid communities that supports clean energy, climate action (including utilization of carbon tax revenue), community resiliency, and sustainable infrastructure.

NWT, Gwich’in Council International:  Diesel Avoided Cost Analysis

The Gwich’in Council International, with support from INAC has commissioned an study to analyze avoided cost reductions that can be achieved from options to diesel power.  The effort is being led by 2016 20/20 Catalyst, Grant Sullivan, Executive Director of Gwich’in Council International.  The final report can be expected in January, 2017.

Nunavut: Collaboration from WWF, University of Waterloo & Pembina

The proactive efforts of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the University of Waterloo (Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy), and the Pembina Institute to analyze renewable energy opportunities for Nunavut are moving to the next stage. More detailed analysis will be conducted in one or two of the five communities in Nunavut examined in the initial broad-based study.

Iqaluit, Nunavut: Micro-Grid & Hotel Development

The Qikiqtaaluk Business Development Corporation of Nunavut is exploring the development of a microgrid for a new development zone in Iqaluit, Nunavut.  Led by Sheldon Nimchuk, 2016 20/20 Catalyst, the first step in the construction is a highly energy-efficient 95-room hotel for the growing community.

Waterloo Global Sciences Initiative (WGSI) & WISE

The Waterloo Global Sciences Initiative (WGSI) has prepared a new report on Open Access to energy, including a look at off-grid Indigenous communities in Canada: The report will be released at the 22nd meeting of Conference of the Parties (COP) in Marrakesh, Morocco in November, 2016.  An examination of off-grid energy and energy access will be held in Ottawa with Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy (WISE) Dean, Jatin Nathwani speaking to a ‘Bacon and Eggheads’ event in Ottawa; followed by an Indigenous Roundtable dialogue co-hosted by WGSI/EISE/Indigenous Clean Energy (ICE) Network in early 2017.

Pembina Institute: Remote Power Purchase Policies Study

Look for a new study looking about Power Purchase Policies for Remote Indigenous Communities that the Pembina Institute is preparing for the World Wildlife Fund.  The report delves into current practices and innovative approaches to promote PPA that are truly responsive to the interests of remote Indigenous communities.  Expected to be public in early 2017, the report will be a valued contribution to build a cleaner energy future for the North.

Arctic Council: Arctic Remote Energy Networks Academy (ARENA)

The Arctic Council will present the Arctic Remote Energy Networks Academy next March through a one-week program in NWT where Arctic representatives will visit clean energy sites (e.g. Colville Lake) to better under the ‘on the ground’ application of renewable energy options.  Further weeks will follow later in 2016 in Alaska and Iceland.  Details at:


Prepared by Lumos Energy for the Indigenous Clean Energy (ICE) Network  

November 2016

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