Transitioning towards clean energy in Grise Fiord, Nunavut
Many Northern and Arctic communities are almost entirely reliant on diesel to heat and light their homes and businesses. In October 2022, Canada’s most Northern hamlet, Grise Fiord, Nunavut flipped the switch on a new 10 kilowatt (kW) solar power installation with support from Canada’s Northern REACHE Program, marking a pivotal and proud moment for the community as it transitions toward a clean energy future. Here’s their story.
Grise Fiord is a tiny, Inuit community of approximately 140 residents located on Ellesmere Island about 1,500 kms from the North Pole.
This isolated hamlet is surrounded by rugged mountains, icy waters and bitter cold temperatures. Grise Fiord is also known as Aujuittuq or "the place that never thaws".
Polar bears are no strangers to Grise Fiord.
Fresh vegetables and other supplies are flown in weekly, weather permitting.
Diesel fuel is shipped in to Grise Fiord once a year, leaving the community extremely vulnerable. Until now!
"This 10kW AC solar PV system will avoid over 2,800 litres of diesel annually. That is diesel which does not need to be transported to the community, stored, and then consumed in the diesel power plant, avoiding pollution, and reducing noise and wear and tear."
Klaus Dohring, President Green Sun Rising Inc. at Grise Fiord, Nunavut.
The installation of a 10kW solar power system funded by the federal Northern REACHE Program, on the Community Hall in 2022 led by Michael Schneider with Green Sun Rising comes as the community begins its transition to a clean energy future.
Mr. Schneider is given a helping hand by Grise Fiord community member Christian Christensen, putting the finishing touches on the solar panel installation.
With this new solar energy system, Grise Fiord is expected to save 2,800 litres of diesel a year and estimated to eliminate 7.4 tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually.
The solar energy system has been accepted into the territorial Qulliq Energy Corporation’s Net Metering Program. This means that the Hamlet will generate its own electricity supply using the solar power system, and the surplus electricity they produce will be sent to the electrical grid in exchange for an energy credit.
"We are in the most isolated inhabited community in North America, and the change in weather patterns, shore erosion, permafrost reduction, are not lost on us, and any investments to slow the changes that Grise Fiord can participate in, is to the benefit of all."
Mayor Meeka Kiguktak of Grise Fiord, Nunavut.
In Grise Fiord, shoreline erosion is a threatening force to infrastructure. Federal funding through the Climate Change Preparedness in the North Program is supporting a coastal erosion assessment project to explore solutions.
To adapt to a changing climate, many Indigenous communities are actively leading the way to building a more climate-resilient future through climate monitoring, adaptation solutions, and the transition to clean energy. Congratulations to Grise Fiord for joining in the fight for a greener future!
The Government of Canada remains steadfast in its commitment to advancing Indigenous climate leadership and supporting Indigenous and Northern communities as they work toward their self-determined climate goals.
Grise Fiord is taking the necessary steps towards a brighter and greener future.
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