After years of deliberation Qulliq Energy Corporation (QEC) has announced plans for hydro developments near Iqaluit.
QEC has identified two key hydro sites for development: develop Jaynes Inlet first, then Armshow South later. The company notes that hydro is cost-competitive with current diesel generation (the most expensive in Canada). 30% of QEC’s annual fuel requirements come from Iqaluit, Nunavut’s largest community.
The Jaynes Inlet site is a 10 Megawatt site which would be built in the 2016-2018 time frame, with power being generated by 2019. The Armshow South site would be about 6 Magawatts and would be developed in the 2025-2030 time frame. QEC would submit its project description to Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB) and other agencies in Feb-2013.
The price may run as high as $450 million — an estimate given by QEC’s president Peter Mackey earlier this year. QEC’s director of engineering Stephen Kerr said people in Iqaluit would eventually see their power bills decrease because of this investment.
In 2009 Yukon Energy Corp. sold $100 million worth of bonds to help pay for the expansion of the Mayo hydroelectric dam, a $160 M project that received $70 M from the federal government.
Developing hydro could make sense for Iqaluit, in the long run, yet the price tag is high. The ability of QEC to bring this $450 M project on budget would be critical. Of course, the federal government contribution will be important. If this project goes south it could be very financially painful for Nunavut.
I wonder the extent that QEC has conducted research on using natural gas (LNG or CNG) to supply extra energy ? Manitoba Hydro, the government-owned public utility, has recently found that it could build a natural gas-fired plant to supply Manitobans with power cheaper than that from the two northern dams. QEC may be better off just buying a small 10 Mw plant and shipping it up.