A false-colour Sentinel-2 satellite image shows hot-spots around the Taltson hydro site on August 5, 2023. Taltson's runway can be seen in the bottom right of the frame.
A wildfire has passed through the site of the NWT’s Taltson hydro power plant, with the full extent of the damage caused currently unknown.
There was no associated power outage as Taltson is offline until the fall while major renovations are carried out at the 58-year-old facility. The South Slave is being powered by diesel from May until November this year.
The wildfire’s physical and financial impact on the $70-million-plus Taltson overhaul is not yet fully clear.
In a statement, the NWT Power Corporation confirmed wildfire SS019 “went through the Taltson hydro site early Saturday morning.”
“To date, it does not appear that there has been a major loss of assets but some small buildings and power poles on site have been lost. A tower along the Taltson transmission line has collapsed but we will not know the full extent of damage along the line until we can complete a full patrol,” power corporation Doug Prendergast wrote.
“We are developing a plan to fully assess the condition of assets on site and will make any necessary repairs before the overhaul project resumes. The timetable for restarting work is unknown at this time.”
Fire crews had previously been assigned to try to protect Taltson’s infrastructure.
The power corporation said firefighters had been able to use its Taltson airstrip and equipment as required.
The summer overhaul is seen as critical to maintaining Taltson’s existing operations, while the expansion would deliver power from the plant to an additional region – at a likely cost of more than $1 billion.