DIESEL REDUCTIONS CREATE LONG-TERM VALUE IN ARIVAT, NUNAVUT
The Hamlet of Arviat is located in Nunavut on the Western shore of the Hudson Bay. The community is accessible only by plane and summer barges used to bring in food and supplies, including diesel fuel for power. The Hamlet of Arviat and NRStor Inc. are working together to develop a community-centric solution reducing the Hamlet’s dependence on diesel power. NRStor worked with the Hamlet to identify the local energy resource, technology preferences, and economics for owning and operating a renewable energy and energy storage project. It was determined that a clean energy solution for Arviat would include wind, solar and energy storage. In addition to environmental benefits, the project will enable local ownership and long-term revenues supporting local economic development. The partnership built between The Hamlet of Arviat and NRStor will continue to create value over the long term.
There are many sources of greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming, but a major one remains emissions from the diesel generators used to power remote communities. In Canada, around 250 Indigenous communities continue to rely solely on diesel generation to provide their power – something many Canadians in the south are not aware of. Many of these remote communities are accessible only by plane and summer barges used to bring in food and supplies, including the diesel fuel for power.
These same communities are on the front line of global warming. They are seeing the early melting of coastal ice, which they rely on for hunting and winter fishing. They are also witnessing firsthand the significant and disturbing trend of thawing permafrost. One such community is the Hamlet of Arviat, located on the western shores of Hudson Bay in Nunavut, approximately 200km north of Churchill, Manitoba. Framed in by several large barrenland rivers, Arviat is surrounded by lively, rolling tundra, an intriguing land rich in wildlife, a gently rolling landscape dotted with lakes and ponds, and steeped in Inuit culture.
There are a number of compelling reasons why Arviat is becoming a unique Arctic community and destination. Arviat is one of Nunavut’s largest hamlets and remains closely tied to its traditional Inuit roots. In addition to having a vibrant arts and crafts industry, Arviat is also becoming a centre of mine training and employment for the Kivalliq Region.
With one of the first major diesel reduction projects in Canada’s Arctic, Arviat has set a vision of becoming the greenest community in the Circumpolar Arctic region and is determined to reduce its dependence on diesel fuel and secure its own clean energy future.
Although fossil fuel generation used to be one of the only options for powering hard to reach locations, in today’s world, clean energy and energy storage is viable and can produce many benefits: increased power quality and reliability, cleaner air, and safer water. The Hamlet of Arviat began working with NRStor Inc. in 2016 to design and deploy a renewable energy and energy storage microgrid project to bring clean, sustainable energy to its community as well as long-term economic development.
NRStor is a Canadian microgrid developer founded by former Home Depot Canada CEO Annette Verschuren, whose guiding principle for the company is “profit with purpose”. NRStor uses a “partnerships-first” approach to design community-based business models harnessing energy innovation. NRStor is embarking on partnerships with remote and Indigenous communities to develop community-based and community-owned microgrid projects. The goal is to collaborate in designing, building, co-owning, financing and operating energy systems that align with the community’s energy objectives. NRStor believes that this model could prove a game changer for some of Canada’s most remote and challenged communities.
Over the past few years, NRStor and the Hamlet of Arviat have developed a partnership to deploy a community-centric clean energy solution. Using a technology agnostic approach, NRStor worked with the Hamlet to identify the local energy resource, technology preferences, and economics for owning and operating a renewable energy and energy storage project.
It was determined that a multi-phase project would incorporate a combination of wind turbines, bifacial solar modules and lithium ion battery energy storage to achieve meaningful diesel reductions in Arviat. A meteorological tower was erected in 2017 to measure the wind resource and refine the project design. Site selection was informed by local and indigenous knowledge through Arviat’s Hunters and Trappers Organization. At the moment, the project design and vendor selection is well underway and revenue agreements with the Nunavut utility, Qulliq Energy Corporation, will be established through their Independent Power Producer program. The partners expect the clean energy microgrid to be commercially operating by the end of 2021.
Through the development process, NRStor and the Hamlet of Arviat have found solutions to the numerous challenges of working in isolated and harsh environments, including microgrid integration, managing logistics and extreme climates.
Once the project is complete, it is estimated that it will prevent more than 160 thousand tonnes of CO2 emissions, and avoid the burning of 30 million litres of diesel over the next 20 years. In addition to transitioning the community to sustainable energy, the project will incorporate local labour and enable workforce training and development.
“The Hamlet of Arviat is convinced of the many benefits that a renewable energy system will provide our community. In addition to reducing environmental impacts, this project will allow us to own our own energy system and will provide a long-term revenue stream into our community,” stated Bob Leonard, Mayor of Arviat.
As a joint owner in the project, the Hamlet of Arviat will secure a source of recurring revenue through the generation of renewable energy. These funds will support local economic development, using the NRStor partnership and clean energy project as a platform for long-term value creation in a strong and growing Inuit community.
Thanks to Todayville for helping us bring our members’ stories of collaboration and innovation to the public.
Click to read a foreward from JP Gladu, Chief Development and Relations Officer, Steel River Group; Former President and CEO, Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business.
New app uses AI to help Calgary medical students practise interacting with patients
A Calgary medical student has developed a new app that allows future doctors to work on their diagnostic and communication skills before they set up their practices. Eddie Guo, seen in an undated handout photo, is a second-year student at the University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine. He says that one of the challenges in medical school is becoming better at interacting with patients. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-University of Calgary
By Bill Graveland in Calgary
A Calgary medical student has developed an app that allows future doctors to work on their diagnostic and communication skills before they set up their practices.
Eddie Guo, a second-year student at the University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine, said one of the challenges beyond the book learning in medical school is becoming better at interacting with patients.
As a result, he’s turned to the rapidly growing area of artificial intelligence to create a number of virtual patients, with a variety of health conditions, that a student can talk to.
“It’s good to get more than just two or four hours of the practice we get in medical school to really be able understand what it’s like to communicate in a real-life scenario,” said Guo.
“We think it’s a good idea to have more than a few hours of practice before actually going out into the wild and seeing patients for the first time.”
Guo created a program, called OSCE-GPT, where the computer is the patient. Users choose the patient’s gender and can select a scenario or let the computer decide on one for them.
“I’m Ben Johnson and I’ve been having some really bad abdominal pains over the past two days. It’s in the right upper quadrant and it spreads to my back,” said the robotic male voice in the program.
“I’ve also been feeling nauseous and vomiting. I’m here in the emergency department because of the pain.”
The AI patient can answer questions about its condition and, after the conversation, provides feedback to the student along with a list of other questions that could have been asked.
Guo said until he is finally allowed on the medical wards, the only other interactions he gets are with standardized patients, professional actors who present with various conditions.
“As you can imagine, they’re really quite good at their job, but they’re also very expensive,” Guo said.
“We don’t get that much opportunity really to practise speaking with a patient, and so what this app was born out of was a lack of possibility to practise.”
Guo collaborated with medical resident Dr. Mehul Gupta. He said this kind of additional help will make for better doctors.
“One of the things we learn again and again in medical school, and that’s reinforced again in residency, is that the history you take from a patient is almost 99 per cent of the diagnosis that you make and the impression you make on a patient the first time you speak with them is long-lasting,” Gupta said.
“If you have the opportunity to practise to tailor your questions to see how you could have done better, you really do become a better doctor overall.”
Guo said the app is still being upgraded and at this point there is no image of a patient that shows up on the screen. He said he is hoping that things like a chest X-ray, a CT scan or a picture of someone’s skin could be incorporated into the program.
Within the first month of the app’s launch, more than 550 health-care trainees from Canada and across the world including Europe, India, Saudi Arabia and the United States signed on.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 22, 2023.
Officials say some patients showing ‘severe symptoms’ in Calgary daycare outbreak
The entrance to the emergency department at Peter Lougheed hospital is pictured in, Calgary on Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2023. An Alberta health official says some of the 22 patients in hospital after an E. coli outbreak at several Calgary daycares have severe symptoms. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
By Bill Graveland in Calgary
An Alberta health official says some of the 22 patients in hospital after an E. coli outbreak at several Calgary daycares have severe symptoms.
Alberta Health Services says there are now 96 laboratory-confirmed cases due to the outbreak, which is up from 56 on Tuesday.
Dr. Francesco Rizzuti, medical officer of health for the Calgary Zone, said Wednesday that the number in hospital has risen from 15. He said 16 are at Alberta Children’s Hospital and six are at Peter Lougheed Centre.
“The majority of individuals that get sick from E. coli generally improve on their own and without specific treatment, typically within 10 days,” Rizzuti said.
“However, a small portion may develop more severe complications. Currently, we have a handful of children who are hospitalized with these more serious illnesses related to this outbreak.”
Rizzuti said that due to privacy concerns, he couldn’t say how many are suffering from severe symptoms. He also would not would confirm any of them have hemolytic uremic syndrome, also known has HUS, which affects the kidneys and causes blood clots.
“Hemolytic uremic syndrome can be a severe consequence. At this time, because we do have small numbers and I want to respect the privacy of the parents, I’m unable to speak to the exact numbers,” he said.
“But it is a small proportion of our laboratory-confirmed cases who do have severe illness and are in hospital at the moment.”
Rizzuti said it was his decision to close six Calgary Fueling Brains daycares and five others out of an abundance of caution after he received calls from city emergency wards.
He said it could take a while before the investigation into the source of the E. coli is found. Public health officers have already taken samples from the central kitchen shared by the daycares.
“They collected a number of food samples, both leftover foods as well as frozen foods, from the site and these are being tested in our laboratory. These do take some time,” Rizzuti said.
“Typically in outbreaks like this, we may not find a food source.”
Faisal Alimohd, co-founder and chairman of Fueling Brains, said he’s saddened that children are sick and immediately began working with AHS to investigate the outbreak.
“Though not all Fueling Brains child-care campuses are currently classified as being on outbreak status by AHS, we have proactively closed all potentially impacted locations as a precaution,” Alimohd said in a statement.
“The exact source of the outbreak has not been identified, but we will be reviewing our policies, procedures and sourcing related to food services for our facilities.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 6, 2023.
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