Nihtat Gwich’in to reduce carbon footprint with $3.5 million solar energy, biomass projects

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INUVIK — Nihtat Corporation will soon begin their work toward renewable energy in rural and remote Indigenous communities around the Northwest Territories. After receiving a $3.5 million investment from the federal government, Nihtat Corporation will start their renewable energy projects, which is hoped to reduce fossil fuel use, create jobs and cut rising energy costs.

“The Nihtat Gwich’in are excited to partner with the Government of Canada on this cutting-edge opportunity that will reduce the cost of living and operations for the people and businesses of Inuvik,” Jozef Carnogursky, President of Nihtat Corporation said, having also noted the projects will reduce “the impact of greenhouse gas emissions from our community. We see this a strong example of how Indigenous peoples and the Government of Canada can work together in the interest of sustainable development in the North.”

The first project, worth $3.3 million, will help up to three local businesses and 32 homes through a new solar power and battery storage system. Nihtat Corporation hopes that Inuvik and Iqaluit will run entirely on solar energy during the spring and summer months of the year.

In fact, the project will generate nearly 1.25 megawatts of renewable, reliable electricity, which may mean cutting out more than 380,000 litres of diesel fuel consumption a year.

Nihtat Corporation will use the second investment, $220,000, to conduct a capacity development study, which might include looking to wood pellet plant developments, wood-based biomass use, and biomass supply chains. This project would take place in the Beaufort Delta area.

These investments, the federal government noted, will let Nihtat Corporation utilize the forest-based biomass in order to enter a competitive energy market while also protecting the environment.

The two projects are funded through Natural Resources Canada’s Clean Energy for Rural and Remote Communities Program (CERRC) with hopes to reduce reliance on fossil fuels among northern, rural and remote Indigenous communities.

The CERRC provides funds up to $220 million to lower reliance on diesel fuel in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across Canada.