The source of electricity
October 02, 2014
Canada derives about 58% of its electricity from hydro power. In the northern three territories the proportion is a little bit less—about 47%.
- In Canada coal the second largest source of power at 18 percent. Nuclear is third (14.6 percent), with oil and gas comprising just 6.3 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively. Canada is 8th in the world in per capita electricity use.
- In the three northern territories the percentages would be hydro 47%, diesel 52% and natural gas/LNG 1%. It should be noted that these data just count the public electricity networks. In the north there are two fairly large private electrical producers : Diavik Diamonds and Northwestel. Diavik opened a large wind farm in late 2012. Northwestel has numerous diesel sites on mountain tops.
- Natural gas (LNG) has become an attractive option for NWT and Yukon. The Town of Inuvik is now using LNG for electricity production, while Yukon Energy is in the midst of building a back-up LNG facility in Whitehorse.
- One hundred years ago coal was used for electrical power generation in Dawson City, for the gold mining industry. But the use of coal was short-lived and has never since been a source of power. In Alaska about 9% of the state’s electrical energy is produced by burning coal.
- The three northern territories are unique in that they are not part of a larger electrical grid. Yukon has an isolated grid for electrical energy distribution, while NWT has only a few connected communities (Taltson grid and Snare grid). The remainder of NWT and all Nunavut communities are stand alone communities.
It is interesting to note the surprisingly large role the coal plays in Canada’s energy scene (second only to hydro). The northern territories are by their very nature isolated and high cost jurisdictions. They rely on diesel heavily, but LNG has made recent inroads, as has wind energy (at the Diavik mine).