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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.

Hamlet of Arviat, Nunavut located on the western shores of Hudson Bay

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.

Solar panels located at the meteorological tower measuring the wind resource in the Hamlet of Arviat, Nunavut

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.

JP Gladu, Chief Development and Relations Officer, Steel River Group; Former President & CEO, Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business

Click to read comments about this series from Jacob Irving, President of the Energy Council of Canada.

Jacob Irving, President of Energy Council of Canada

The Canadian Energy Compendium is an annual initiative by the Energy Council of Canada to provide an opportunity for cross-sectoral collaboration and discussion on current topics in Canada’s energy sector.  The 2020 Canadian Energy Compendium: Innovations in Energy Efficiency is due to be released November 2020.


Click below to read more stories from Energy Council of Canada’s Compendium series.

Read more on Todayville.






Hydro-Québec takes partnerships, environmental measures and sharing of wealth to new levels

The Energy Council of Canada brings together a diverse body of members, including voices from all energy industries, associations, and levels of government within Canada. We foster dialogue, strategic thinking, collaboration, and action by bringing together senior energy executives from all industries in the public and private sectors to address national, continental, and international energy issues.

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