Inuvik’s Nihtat Energy is to receive $800,000 from the federal government to help multiple solar power projects in the Beaufort Delta.
Natural Resources Canada said the NWT company was the first to receive a prize through the Indigenous Off-Diesel Initiative, a $20-million program that funds remote Indigenous communities to reduce their reliance on diesel.
According to the federal government, Inuvik leads NWT communities in its levels of diesel consumption for heat and power.
Nihtat Energy aims to reduce that by launching a solar project at the Inuvik Satellite Station Facility this year, while planning a separate, one-megawatt solar farm connected to Inuvik’s grid.
The project’s total funds come to more than $2.6 million.
In a news release, Gwich’in Tribal Council Grand Chief Ken Smith said the council “supports innovative energy projects developed by our own Gwich’in participants … for the benefit of our own communities.”
Smith stated: “These projects demonstrate how Indigenous communities and businesses, the Northwest Territories Power Corporation, and federal and territorial governments can work collaboratively and creatively as partners and lead the way toward a more sustainable energy future for the North.”
In September 2020, Nihtat Energy received $2.25 million in federal funds to replace diesel boilers with biomass and test ways to introduce renewables in isolated Gwich’in communities.
NWT infrastructure minister Diane Archie stated: “The GNWT and NTPC look forward to working with Nihtat Energy to create a model for independent renewable energy generation that supports Indigenous business while helping to stabilize energy costs and reduce GHG emissions.”
Correction: January 21, 2021 – 09:58 MT. An earlier version of this article suggested the NWT Power Corporation had provided funding for the Nihtat Energy Ltd. project. In fact, the Corporation has not.