Nunavik leaders come together to discuss green energy
‘We wanted to spark the interest of taking action in moving towards clean energy in the communities,’ says Tarquti Energy manager
Leaders across Nunavik are meeting in an effort to boost green-energy projects in the region.
It was the main topic of this year’s three-day Sillitik clean energy symposium, held in Inukjuak at the end of August.
Tarquti Energy and the Pituvik Landholding Corp. hosted the three-day event, which is to become part of a regular tradition to keep the conversation going among Nunavik leadership.
“It was really the first time such an event was organized,” said Tarquti Energy’s general manager, Joë Lance, in a phone interview.
The goal was to develop strategies to meet each village’s own set of circumstances.
The town where the event took place, Inukjuak, offers a prime example of what a community-led energy project looks like with its brand-new dam, Innavik.
“It was a great opportunity to showcase a project that is almost completed, and should be operational this fall,” Lance said.
“We wanted to spark the interest of taking action in moving toward clean energy in the communities.”
Leaders from all 14 communities took part in the symposium alongside industry experts. There were presentations, Q&A’s, breakout sessions and demonstrations.
There was a need for a conference like this to happen, said Lance.
“The opportunity to take action against the effects of climate change was a good trigger,” he said, “to take the opportunity to get off from all fossil fuels.”
In terms of clean-energy technology, every community has unique variables that make some options more viable than others. A small dam was perfect for Inukjuak, Lance said, while other ideas are being looked at such as wind and solar energy.
“The goal is to develop in all Nunavik communities what we saw in Inukjuak,” he said. “The pride of owning a project, making a difference.”
Concerning wind energy, it is a proven technology in the Arctic where some mines are partially powered that way.
“The winds are strong in the Arctic, some communities even have world-class winds,” Lance said.
Solar can be also effective, despite the sometimes long winter nights.
“Even though during three months of the year, production drops drastically,” said Lance, “it surprisingly picks up during springtime with the reflection of the snow.”
He said the amount of solar energy produced in Nunavik is about the same as what’s produced in Montreal.
Tidal energy is also being studied for Nunavik. With communities like Tasiujaq having some of the strongest tides in the world, it’s becoming a likely option for the region.
“The challenge for the Arctic with that technology is the ice,” Lance said.
When the ice breaks apart in spring, large chunks that flow downriver could damage the equipment set on the riverbed.
Tarquti Energy is working in eight communities to develop local clean energy projects and has plans to eventually go to every community.
“Our role is to support communities in achieving their goals, and completing the projects they want to do,” Lance said.