Wind turbine research, using the machine pictured here, will begin near Baker Lake in the fall with the goal of wind turbines eventually being used. (Photo courtesy of Oliver Pennock)

Wind turbine research to begin in Baker Lake

Research is testing whether wind turbines can be an alternative energy source in the community

By David Lochead

Wind turbine research is expected to start this fall in Baker Lake, and could lead to the alternative form of energy generation being used there in the future.

Northern Energy Capital, a company dedicated to building renewable energy in the North, submitted a proposal at the start of July for a wind research project, to determine whether it’s feasible for the community to use turbines as an energy source.

“The objective here is to offset the reliance on those [diesel] generators to make use of this wind resource,” Oliver Pennock, the business operations lead with Northern Energy Capital, said.

“[That way] we don’t have to use so much diesel.”

Currently Baker Lake uses diesel as its energy source, but Pennock estimates wind turbines potentially could provide more than 10 per cent of its energy needs.

The company is doing the study on behalf of Kivalliq Alternative Energy Ltd.

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The project will take place nearly a kilometre northeast from Baker Lake, and is expected to run from the fall this year to fall 2023. Pennock said it proposes building one or two wind turbines there if results show they would be effective.

A sonic detection device and ranging machine that uses sound waves to measure wind activity through wind speed, direction, and frequency will be used in the study.

The device is small, about the size of a mini-fridge, Pennock said.

The goal is to see if the area can reach a minimum wind speed of six to nine metres per second, which would make having a wind turbine feasible, Pennock said.

By July 25, responses to the proposal had been received from the federal and territorial governments.

Most of the comments from the federal Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada were regarding local employment.

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Meanwhile, the Government of Nunavut’s stated there are 44 archeological sites in the area and that Northern Energy Capital needs to be mindful of those sites when operating.

Currently, two locals have been hired for training and will monitor the research device, Pennock said.

To address environmental and wildlife concerns, a larger study and permitting process would have to be undertaken if an actual wind turbine is built, Pennock said. For this study, he said, the company is “basically placing this piece of equipment just on the ground.”

Pennock said that after a year, the hope is that the area will be determined to be feasible for wind turbines and if so, the next step would be to develop a plan for the turbines themselves.



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(20) Comments:

  1. Posted by Can’t Wait! on

    Cant wait to hear the laughable excuses as to why wind wont work up here or how it uffects the aminals.

    • Posted by oh ima on

      gees be positive, don’t be a naysayer, god get our of your small time thinking

  2. Posted by Frank on

    What’s to “research”? Baker Lake already has historical wind speed, direction and frequency data going back over 70 years.

    • Posted by Maybe this? on

      Maybe the research pertains to how the equipment will need to be designed, given the environmental conditions.

      • Posted by Inuk from Nunavik on

        All they have to do is , take a design that work down south and adapt it to work in 50 below weather , check the Fins , there good at making things that operate in extreme good.

        • Posted by Research needed for that? on

          Consider the possibility that there is a lot more to “all they need to do” than you seem to think.

    • Posted by Observer on

      For wind turbines, the data has to be much more detailed than the wind direction/speed that’s normally reported, which is mostly just hourly. The speed the wind is at various heights also has to be taken into account.

    • Posted by oh ima on

      I am pretty sure they know that but they’re looking into whether the technology will work. Most of the technology works in a warmer climates, so they’re checking to see if it will work in the tundra environment.

    • Posted by hermann kliest on

      Thanks to Thomas…..

  3. Posted by 867 on

    Hopefully they’ve considered the potential harm to migratory bird species

  4. Posted by sam on

    AEM,Baker Lake,Rankin Inlet burns 100 million litres a year half for their operations and half for heavy equipment,and they started their own research,why another research,money to waste,give to the elders private homeowners.this moey gov waste again,private sector can do it

  5. Posted by The Old Trapper on

    Let me save everyone the time and money for this research project.

    Yes, there is enough wind at Baker Lake to operate a wind turbine. Every time I was there in the winter I froze my rear end off due to the windchill.

    All the airport’s weather observations are reported and available through Environment Canada.

    By the way there was a windmill in Cambridge Bay that operated for years. Why is this still a question?

  6. Posted by Just me on

    QEC will be the biggest road block. Arviat and Sanikiliaq are ready to move forward with wind energy project but QEC seems to be refusing to get on board.

    • Posted by Name Withheld on

      QEC will never get on board unless it benefits Iqaluit as that is where majority of the Board of Directors are located.

      • Posted by Bert Rode on

        Keith Peterson the Chair of the QEC Board lives in Cambridge Bay.
        Sorry to point that out but your obvious bias is showing.

        • Posted by Name Withheld on

          I said majority of the Board live in Iqaluit. No mentions of the Chair of QEC….

  7. Posted by Dave on

    Isn’t there a mine with 2 operating wind turbines?

    • Posted by The Idea of Wind Energy in Nunavut Has Been Around For 30 Years on

      Yep, Diavik mine has been operating turbines since 2012 (10 years!) and I think they actually have 4 operating turbines? For reference, Diavik is located at 64.29.46N while Baker is located at 64.19.10N. As always, the GN is way behind the times and more money will be pumped into “research” while at the end of it all, whatever is actually done is going to be inadequate.
      From a 2014 article about Diavik’s turbines,
      “We installed a meteorological tower to collect wind data over three years and determine if a resource exists,” said Ashbury. “We determined it was feasible and with all factors considered, it was a go.”
      Given the mine’s extreme location, the turbines are a force to be reckoned with. Each 100-metre-high assembly features an Enercon E70 generator with gearless direct-drive design and sports three 33-metre epoxy-resin blades. Each blade weighs a hefty 6.5 tonnes and has a top running speed of 285 kilometres per hour at the tip.
      The blades are fitted with de-icing technology to withstand temperatures as cold as minus 40 degrees Celsius. In fact, they represent a new benchmark for wind generation in low temperatures.
      Diavik worked with the manufacturer to extend the turbines’ capacity from its previous operational maximum of minus 30, “since a good portion of Diavik’s wind resource occurs between minus 30 and minus 40 degrees Celsius,” said Ashbury.
      Each turbine sits on a base made up of 20 kilometres of reinforced steel and 306 cubic metres of concrete. At 416 feet above sea level, prevailing northwest and southeast winds kick up at an average 26 kilometres per hour, although they have been measured as fast as 122 kilometres per hour and have, for very brief times, supplied as much as 58 per cent of the plant’s operational energy requirements.
      The wind farm’s total installed demonstrated capacity is 9.2 MW with a 17 GWh annual production. It produced 8.5 per cent of the mine’s power in 2013 and 11.2 per cent in the first quarter of 2014. In 2013, it saved Diavik 3.8 million litres of fuel, or $5 million, and cut back on the winter road fuel haul by approximately 75 loads.
      At current capacity, the $31 million capital investment will pay for itself over eight years.

      • Posted by Arctic Monkey on

        Can vote for you to be on energy department! Thank you for sharing that data, I wish continuity in Human Resources / knowledge sharing would be a priority. I think it could prevent so many stupid mistakes we keep making.

  8. Posted by Chesley aka name withheld on

    The answer my friend is blowing in the wind.

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