Off the grid: Iqaluit hotel aims for energy independence
Qikiqtaaluk Corp. subsidiary hopes microgrid can prove renewable energy is sufficient and cost-effective
Updated Friday, Feb. 10 at 1:20 p.m.
It’s a science project fit for a hotel.
To prove sufficient energy can be produced without relying on a regional power grid, Nunavut Nukkiksautiit Corp. is constructing a microgrid system at the Aqsarniit Hotel and Conference Centre in Iqaluit.
A combination of solar power, battery storage and diesel energy will power the building. Meanwhile, the system will trap heat from its diesel generation to heat the hotel in winter.
The project should allow Aqsarniit to unplug from the larger, citywide grid operated by Qulliq Energy Corp.
The result: energy independence.
“This will be a nice way to show that we can do it,” said Heather Shilton, director of Nunavut Nukkiksautiit, the renewable energy subsidiary of the Qikiqtaaluk Corp. The corporation also owns the Aqsarniit hotel.
The other goal, Shilton said, is to demonstrate that renewable energy can be effective and economical.
Nunavut Nukkiksautiit initially hoped to connect the project to QEC’s grid.
But to do that, the corporation would have had to sign on to QEC’s Commercial and Institutional Power Producers program. That move wouldn’t have made financial sense for the corporation, Shilton said.
The plan is to construct the microgrid by fall 2024 and be operational soon after that.
The total cost will be $7 to $8 million.
Qikiqtani Inuit Association gave Nunavut Nukkiksautiit $2.8 million for the project in January, at its annual general meeting.
The federal government also contributed money through Natural Resources Canada’s Clean Energy for Rural and Remote Communities program.
The aim is for 20 per cent of the energy provided from the microgrid to be renewable.
Shilton said it should also be cheaper to power the hotel but it will take a few months after it’s operational to collect data and get a more precise account of savings.
She said she hopes this project can be an example for future renewable energy projects in the territory.
“I think it’ll be a nice project from that perspective,” Shilton said.
Correction: This article has been updated from a previous version to note Nunavut Nukkiksautiit Corp. is a subsidiary of Qikiqtaaluk Corp., which also owns the Aqsarniit hotel.