The federal and territorial governments will together invest $60 million in connecting Fort Providence and Kakisa to the South Slave’s Taltson hydro system.
The governments said doing so will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve the territory’s power infrastructure, in which leaders have long acknowledged investment is sorely lacking.
A 170-kilometre transmission line will connect the two communities to Taltson. The gradual expansion of that hydro system is seen as a priority for the territorial government. Much of the NWT’s emissions reduction goal relies on more hydro from the likes of Taltson replacing diesel, traditionally relied upon for power in many smaller communities.
“Climate change is a serious challenge for our economy and for all levels of government,” NWT infrastructure minister Diane Archie said on Friday.
“By partnering with Canada, local and Indigenous governments, and organizations and communities on energy projects like the Fort Providence-Kakisa transmission line, the GNWT is taking action that will improve electricity reliability while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and stabilizing energy costs.”
The federal contribution, $45 million, comes from a larger $400-million Arctic Energy Fund created to support “energy security in northern communities.”
In its latest energy strategy, the territorial government committed to a 25-percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from diesel in smaller communities. The territory will invest up to $15 million in the transmission line.
“This project would essentially eliminate the use of diesel for electrical generation in Fort Providence and Kakisa except for emergency backup,” said Archie. The line will also connect Dory Point, a day-use area south of the Mackenzie River.
The governments expect the line to reduce diesel use by a million litres annually and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2.75 kilotons.
To meet its 2030 goal of reducing emissions to 30 percent below 2005 levels, the territory needs to cut annual greenhouse gas emissions to 1,094 kilotons. In 2018, the annual figure stood at 1,260 kilotons.
“Access to reliable sources of energy is essential for northern communities to thrive. Investments like this will strengthen our northern communities for years to come,” said NWT Liberal MP Michael McLeod.
Archie anticipated construction work taking place in 2023.