Greenland hydro capacity increases with new plant
August 20, 2013
Greenland produces about 75% of its electrical energy from hydro power. The last two of the three 7.5 MW turbines at Ilulissat are scheduled to go on line this year.
Greenland is the largest island and least densely populated country on Earth. Its 57,000 inhabitants are spread over a vast area the size of western Europe, with most of them living in small communities along the fjords of the west coast. Greenland has been replacing its diesel power plants with hydropower plants – thereby using its vast resources of glacial meltwater to generate lower cost hydropower and reduce the country’s fuel imports and greenhouse gas emissions.
The latest of these renewable energy projects is a 22.5 megawatt (MW) hydropower plant for the town of Ilulissat on the west coast - the third largest community in Greenland.
The other Greenland hydro facilities are:
- The hydro power plant at Buksefjord was commissioned in 1993 and is Greenland’s first hydro power plant. The power station itself is situated some 600 meters (1950 feet) inside the mountain, and there are 14 km (8½ miles) of tunnels. The hydro power plant supplies the capital Nuuk with electricity for both electric utility supply and heating. The Buksefjord power station’s three turbines today yield a combined output of 45 MW.
- The hydro power plant at Tasiilaq was officially inaugurated in spring 2005, and was the second hydro power plant to generate electricity for a town. The hydro power plant at Tasiilaq is located 3 kilometers northwest of the city and has an output of 1.2 MW. The hydro power plant at Tasiilaq only supplies the town with electricity for the local electric utility supply, as it does not have sufficient capacity to also be used for heating purposes.
- The hydro power plant at Qorlortorsuaq was completed in 2007/08 and supplies the towns of Qaqortoq and Narsaq with electricity. This made the power plant at Qorlortorsuaq the first hydro power plant to supply electricity to more than one town. The hydro power plant’s two turbines yields a total output of 7.2 MW. Qaqortoq is partly supplied with electricity for heating, but there is insufficient capacity to also supply Narsaq with electricity for heating purposes.
- The hydro power plant at Sisimiut was put into run in the end of 2009. It has two turbines that combined yield a maximum effect of 15 MW. The hydro power plant also supplies energy for heating in Sisimiut. The power plant utilizes the lake Tasersuaq and is located app. 27 kilometers northeast of the city.
Greenland is introducing small wind power parks in order to supply energy to those areas inaccessible by electricity cables. In addition, the government is investing in new technology for storing and transporting excess energy.
The Nordic countries are leaders in hydro development. Greenland’s next door neighbor, Nunavut, has no hydro production. Yukon produces nearly all of its electricity from hydro sources.