New, more efficient diesel power plant opens in Łútsël K’é
The NWT Power Corporation is opening a new diesel plant in Łútsël K’é. The diesel plant is set to cost nearly $15 million and be slightly more energy-efficient than the previous one.
Power corporation minister Diane Archie said the new plant will “ensure that the number of generation-related power outages is reduced,” while a news release also promoted the emissions benefits – even though the plant still uses diesel.
The new power plant is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with Łútsël K’é’s electricity generation by 100 tonnes annually compared to the old one, and will allow more renewable energy to be added to the local grid in future, the NWT government stated.
The territory has a goal of reducing emissions by 30 percent, compared to 2005 levels, by 2030. The NWT is still more than 150,000 tonnes a year off that target, meaning 100 tonnes is a small contribution to the gap. (Łútsël K’é does also have a solar power facility that has been open for most of the past decade.)
More than 25 communities in the territory remain reliant on diesel for their primary means of power generation, and diesel is the backup of choice even in communities with hydroelectricity.
But the new plant brings other benefits to Łútsël K’é residents.
Łútsël K’é Dene First Nation Chief James Marlowe said having the new plant outside the town will make a big difference.
“Life will be better for our people,” he said in a press release. “The community will be quieter, the plant is further away from Great Slave Lake, and the smell of fumes that the old plant produced will go away.”