Nunavut to use carbon tax revenues to install LED streetlights across territory

“We expect the costs to maintain these lights to be less over time”

Jeannie Ehaloak, minister responsible for Qulliq Energy Corp., and Bruno Pereira, Qulliq Energy Corp.’s president, present to Nunavut’s legislature on Oct. 28 their plan to install LED streetlights in all Nunavut communities over four years. (Photo by Emma Tranter)

By Emma Tranter

The Government of Nunavut will use part of the revenues it receives from the carbon tax to install LED lightbulbs in streetlights across the territory.

Jeannie Ehaloak, the minister responsible for Qulliq Energy Corp., and Bruno Pereira, Qulliq Energy Corp.’s president, presented the plan to install the lightbulbs in all of Nunavut’s communities over four years to the legislative assembly on Monday, Oct. 28.

Iqaluit, Rankin Inlet, Cambridge Bay and Kugluktuk already use LED lights in their streetlights, Ehaloak explained.

Ehaloak and Pereira requested $2 million in capital funding over four years, starting with $500,000 in 2020-21 for the project.

“Because LED lights require significantly less energy to power than conventional bulbs, the Qulliq Energy Corp. will not need to burn as much diesel to keep these lit,” Ehaloak told MLAs and ministers.

“Additionally, while the upfront cost of each bulb is significant, we expect the costs to maintain these lights to be less over time. Further, because municipalities pay the Qulliq Energy Corp. for the electricity to operate their streetlights, using higher efficiency bulbs will generate savings to our hamlets,” she added.

Pat Angnakak, MLA for Iqaluit-Niaqunnguu, asked Ehaloak how long it would take before hamlets saw savings in their energy bills.

“You will be able to notice the difference right away. I’m just going to give you a figure of how much Iqaluit actually cost. Before the LED lighting, Iqaluit was paying $21,474.75 a month. After the LED lighting was installed, they’re now paying $16,460.49 a month,” Ehaloak replied.

John Main, MLA for Arviat North-Whale Cove, asked how the old bulbs, once removed, would be disposed of.

“I’m just hoping to get clarification if treating them as e-waste and shipping them out, is that a new process that will be employed or is that currently the process for all streetlight work in Nunavut?” Main asked.

“The old bulbs are taken outside of Nunavut,” Ehaloak said.

Ehaloak also noted that the life of regular lightbulbs is four to six years, while LED bulbs last 10 years.

After some further questioning, the assembly approved Ehaloak and Pereira’s request.

The first communities to receive the new LED lights will be Resolute Bay, Grise Fiord, Pond Inlet, Gjoa Haven, Taloyoak and Kugaaruk.

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(6) Comments:

  1. Posted by The Old Trapper on

    Well it’s a start. It would be nice if NN could get their reporter to obtain a little more information, which I hope the GN has readily available seeing as they have made the decision to change the current streetlights out for LEDs.
    $60,000 a year savings for Iqaluit would be decent savings. What we don’t have is the cost of the current lights, and the cost of the new LED lights. If the new LED lights are no more than twice the cost of the old lights then the $60,000 is a legitimate savings, anything higher and the savings is less.
    There should also be a cost reduction for QEC as well as they should not have to produce as much power however I think that the savings would be minimal unless the streetlights are a huge draw on the power system.
    Also I would hope that the LEDs are phased in so that the current streetlights are replaced as they burnout. Given that this is a multi-year program there should be no reason to do a wholesale replacement all at one time.
    So the questions are;
    Cost of old streetlights & power draw
    Cost of new streetlights & power draw
    Number of streetlights per community
    Cost per kwh in each community

    • Posted by Power on

      You have to factor in the costs to replace/maintain the lights, which will be far lower with LEDS based on how much longer they will last.

    • Posted by Consistency on

      I feel that Main tried to ask these questions… though asked them poorly in the ledg. and never got any good responses from the Minister.

  2. Posted by Disgruntled on

    Good to see Jeannie ensuring that Kitikmeot is taken care of. We never get enough advocacy for our region, and Iqaluit likes to pretend that we don’t exist. She’s making her hometown proud.

  3. Posted by Putuguk on

    This is a good initiative but people need to understand its limitations. Switching to LED lighting means less fossil fuel energy being used for public lighting – full stop.

    That could mean less diesel burned depending on the local load, but it may not, if it merely results in generators running slower and less efficiently. The most direct effect is to reduce local loads so that other loads can be then added. This is in favor of extending the usefulness of our diesel plants in the face of ever increasing demands for more electricity in every community.

    As history has shown, Qulliq only gets serious about alternative energy when they need to make major investments in increasing local generating capacity. If there is no need to expand, the thinking goes, make do with the power plants you have.

    The same thing happens with cars. The more fuel efficient cars become, people just drive more because it costs them the same to do so.

    You will note that there are no claims being made about reductions in carbon emissions as part of this announcement because of these circumstances. Real carbon reductions will only be achieved if we stop burning diesel for electricity and switch to something else that uses less or no fossil fuels.

    This will only become of a climate change success story if municipalities use savings to invest in local alternative energy. People that are concerned with climate change should now challenge and push hard on their Hamlet Councils for these decisions.

    • Posted by Everybody’s Child on


      I have often admired your comments. They seem insightful, well informed, relevant and filled with good ideas.
      I agree with your comment above about the usefulness and limitations of LED streetlights.
      But then you seem to criticize QEC for not doing more about alternative energy.
      What sort of alternative energy do you propose we use in Nunavut?
      From many of your previous posts I know that you are aware of the financial difficulties in Nunavut and the financial limitations faced by the GN.
      Windmills may be a good option for mine-sites, where there are lots of engineers and mechanics to keep them in good running order.
      Harnessing the tides has good potential where there is no ice.
      Solar panels work fairly well when the sun is shining and high in the sky so the sun’s rays are not screened by too much atmosphere.
      But all these are capital intensive and from your previous posts I know you are aware of the GN’s dire need for its limited capital. Think housing, think food, think elder care facilities, think day cares, think more affordable transportation between communities.
      Most alternative energy projects in Nunavut have been undertaken with donated equipment. Capital costs, installation costs and maintenance costs will have to come way before the GN will be able to afford these options.
      The only cost-effective option I’m aware of is seal-oil, but most people don’t seem to want to go back to those days.
      If you know of a viable option for Nunavut, please let us know.

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