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Embracing the power of water

Water is one of the oldest and most powerful natural resources that humanity has harnessed to produce electricity. The most common clean energy solutions fed by water are hydroelectric power plants. Traditional Hydro powerplants require a reservoir and flooding, while newer technology, called “run-of-river” does not. In both options, the water acts as a force that moves spinning turbines, which in turn drives alternators to produce electricity. The energy produced varies according to the river flow and is fed directly into the grid. Hydropower is able to meet the baseload demands of most electrical grids.

Reservoir plant

Traditional hydropower technology uses a dam to store fast-moving water in a reservoir. When released from the reservoir, the water flows through a turbine and the water flow activates a generator to produce electricity.

Run-of-river plant

This technology uses the natural down-flow of elevated lakes, rivers or streams to produce electricity. A run-of-river plant requires a penstock – a large pipe – to channel the water through turbines and produce electricity.

Energy facts

Did you know?

The Innavik Project is born from a strong partnership between Pituvik Landholding Corporation and Innergex Renewable Energy Inc. This 7.5 MW run-of-river hydroelectric facility in Inukjuak could nearly eliminate the community’s reliance on diesel for year-round energy. The project inauguration is planned for the summer of 2023.

Solar Energy

Embracing the power of the sun

Solar energy converts sunlight directly into electricity thanks to photovoltaic (PV) solar panels. As these panels can be mounted on the ground or fixed to small and large buildings, solar power is one of the most accessible and versatile forms of clean energy production.

Powering beluga cabins around Kangirsuk!

In 2023, Tarquti is joining forces with the Local Nunavimmi Umajulirijiit Katujiqatigininga (LNUK) to design a solar panel system for their members to power their community cabin freezer. On the first sealift, 6 plug-in systems will be shipped to Kangirsuk, and the Association will proceed with installing their new system. This will ensure that food caught on behalf of the community will remain safe to eat even if hunted in the heat
of the summer.

Cabin kit

With the growing demand for solar energy in Nunavik, Tarquti has designed Siqinirsiutik, a plug-and-play off-grid solar system designed to supply the basic electricity needed for things like lighting, charging small devices, and operating freezers on the land. This pilot project aims to assess the performance of this technology before it’s deployed at the regional level.

Building rooftop system

Similar to ground-mount systems, building rooftop solar solutions convert sunlight directly into electricity with photovoltaic (PV) solar panel technology. Whether for homeowners or commercial buildings, solar panels are a proven technology with great potential in Nunavik. Tarquti wishes to integrate the energy produced into the Hydro-Quebec grid by implementing these rooftop projects. This could help reduce diesel consumption in the communities and the emissions of greenhouse gas emissions.

Ground-mount plant

Similar to the building system, ground-mount solar solutions convert sunlight directly into electricity thanks to photovoltaic (PV) solar panels technology. Ground-mount solar panels are installed on a structure fixed to the ground. They can power a single building or a community, depending on the size of the project. A community would require an entire solar farm.

Energy Facts

Did you know?

Yes. Solar panels produce maximum energy in full sun, a little less energy on cloudy days, and no energy at night. The system contains a powerful battery that stores excess energy and hands it back when solar panels do not produce enough energy.

Yes. Solar panels are proven to perform at their highest capacity in colder environments. However, batteries do not perform to their maximum capacity during colder days and should be placed in heated containers. The shorter periods of sunshine in winter obviously produce less energy than in summer. This is when the electricity stored in the battery during periods of sunshine in the summer is used instead of producing electricity with the diesel generator.

Source :

Quaqtaq. In 2018, the community of Quaqtaq collaborated with Hydro-Québec to put into service the first ground-mount system in Nunavik, involving the installation of 69 solar panels. The photovoltaic modules’ capacity is 2% of that of the thermal generating station that powers the community. This new technology could reduce fuel consumption by 5,000 litres a year, providing substantial environmental and economic benefits.

Sources :

Kuujjuaq. In the summer of 2022, Kuujjuamiut Inc.’s General Manager, Jason Aitchison, led the installation of a 100 kW solar-power system to cover all of the Arena’s energy use during the summer months. This project also generates enough surplus to feed the grid. It was possible thanks to Natural Resources Canada’s – Indigenous Off-Diesel Initiative.

Wind energy

Embracing the power of the wind

Nunavik is rich in world-class wind resources. Wind produces electricity through the rotation of turbine blades connected to a generator. Wind technologies should be used in conjunction with another source of energy production or be equipped with a storage system, as production is variable.There are three standard sizes of wind turbines: small, medium and large.

Small wind turbines
(2-25-meter high)

Produce less than 100 kW and are ideal to supply small scale residential needs. These turbines, however, are not adapter to Nunavik’s icing and cold climates.

Medium wind turbines
(20-60-meter high)

Produce more than 1,000kW and are ideal for onshore and offshore wind farms to supply power to the grid. In Nunavik, these turbines are the most mature technology and best suited to the cold climate. Despite the logistical and construction challenges, they have already been successfully tested in other arctic climates.

Large wind turbines
(46-180-meter high)

Produce more than 1,000 kW and are ideal for onshore and offshore wind farms to supply power to the grid. In Nunavik, these turbines are the most mature technology and best suited to the cold climate. Despite the logistical and construction challenges, they have already been proven in other arctic climates.

Energy facts

Did you know?

There are 7 wind measurement towers, also known as a met tower, in Nunavik. They are temporary 60-meter-high structures held in place by steel cables anchored to the ground. In 2021, Tarquti installed 5 towers in Kangiqsujuaq, Kuujjuaq, Puvirnituq, Quaqtaq and Salluit. In the summer of 2023, 2 additional communities Kangirsuk and Kangiqsualujjuaq will start collecting data on wind speed and direction as well as sun radiation, temperature, and other weather information.

There are 2 wind turbines in Nunavik. Since 2014, Raglan Mine and the Glencore group have saved millions of litres of diesel every year thanks to its two wind turbines (2014, 2018) installed at the mine site. According to the developer press release, both turbines will annually abate 4.4 million litres of diesel and 12,000 tons in GHG.

Other Technologies

Multiple solutions for different locations and resources

There are various clean energy options available globally, but not every solution is suitable for the Arctic climate and local conditions. It is crucial to have a comprehensive knowledge of all the available possibilities to ensure they meet the needs and preferences of the community.

Tidal energy

Tidal power exploits the potential energy of the tides in coastal areas with high tidal ranges to produce electricity. A tidal power plant is made up of two basins separated by a dam, allowing the operation of the turbines when desired. The quantity of energy produced is thus predictable, because the tide’s duration and amplitude are predictable. However, these turbines are suitable in Nunavik only if they are totally submerged [1]. Moreover, the technology is not mature enough and very expensive to implement. In addition, there are no installations in a similar context in cold climates. Thus, tidal energy is not currently recommended for installation in Nunavik.

Source :

Geothermal energy

The thermal energy used for geothermal power plants is recovered from steam or liquid water heated by the rocks located in the deep layers of the Earth (2 km and more). This energy is used to generate heat or to produce electricity using a turbine. Given the absence of significant hydrothermal reservoirs in the Quebec subsoil, geothermal energy is not a viable technology in most Nunavik Communities. Furthermore, the technology has not been tested in climatic conditions similar to Nunavik’s.

Nuclear energy

Nuclear power is produced by small modular reactors (SMRs) that use the fission of uranium or thorium to create heat, which produces energy. SMRs produce less power than traditional nuclear power plants, but can be installed at non-conventional sites: small grids, grid edges, off-grid where energy needs are low. Although suitable for cold climates, this technology is less favourable in Nunavik as it involves environmental risks and requires highly trained employees. Projects involving nuclear power also tend to face social acceptability challenges.

Biomass energy

Biomass cogeneration systems (CHP) produce both electricity and heat using wood gas recovered from forest biomass (pellets or wood chips). They are turnkey solutions that can be installed in containers. They are designed for remote areas with smaller and variable energy needs. These systems come in several power ranges depending on the manufacturer. The biomass cogeneration system is scalable to meet a wide range of power and load requirements. However, a heat network must be built and installed. The pellet supply must be planned to meet the annual demand and the pellets must be stored properly. This technology is installed in the Kwadacha’s community [1], north of British-Colombia, and the social acceptability of the technology was high [2].


Hydrokinetic turbines

Hydrokinetic turbines produce electrical energy from the rotation of blades (kinetic energy) propelled by marine, river or stream current forces. The currents turn the turbine blades, which drive a rotor and power a generator that produces electricity. The environmental constraints without mitigation for turbines are non-negligible and the adaptation of the technology to cold climates has not been sufficiently tested. Furthermore, these turbines are suitable in Nunavik only if they are totally submerged [1] because of the possible presence of frazi in the water [2]. In addition, the project cost of this technology is considerable compared to other possible solutions that would generate more energy.