A six-month shutdown of the NWT’s Taltson hydro system, moving South Slave communities to diesel power throughout the summer, is now expected to begin on May 5.
The NWT Power Corporation previously said the work has to happen as parts of Taltson, originally built in 1965 and serving the entire South Slave since 1986, have reached the end of their useful lives.
Electricity in Hay River, the Kátł’odeeche First Nation, Fort Smith, Fort Resolution and Enterprise will come from diesel while the work is carried out.
The shutdown was initially scheduled to begin in April and conclude in October, but has now been moved to the first week of May 5, the power corporation said.
“We are working to ensure that all work packages are effectively pre-planned to maximize the time of workers on-site (employees and contractors) and use of equipment, so as to minimize the number of days that the South Slave hydro communities need to rely on diesel generation,” spokesperson Doug Prendergast said by email.
“Our intent is still to complete the refurbishment in October.”
The expected impact on emissions – an area in which the NWT government is already struggling to reach its posted target – is not clear.
Work to overhaul Taltson should have started earlier but was delayed by Covid-19, the GNWT has previously said. In 2022, the power corporation said in regulatory documents that the work’s expected cost at the time was $67 million.
Those figures don’t include the cost of generating diesel to replace Taltson while the hydro plant is out of action, which has been estimated at around $6 million.