Renewable Energy Inventory

Existing Energy Systems

Systems of energy generation and use vary across the territories. Hydroelectricity has been an important source of power in Yukon and the Northwest Territories for many decades. Most energy for heating is derived from petroleum, although wood has always been an important source of home heating in Yukon and the Northwest Territories and even powered the early steamboats. Natural gas is also used in two communities in the Northwest Territories for both heat and power. Diesel-fired power generation provides the remaining electricity and heating needs in the three territories, including the vast majority of energy generation in Nunavut.

Figure 1
Electricity Generation by Source
Figure 1 shows total electricity generation in all three territories over a year by source in megawatt hours (MW∙h).

Figure 2
Current Heat Generation by Source
Figure 2 outlines the total heat generation over a year by source in MW∙h.

These graphs provide a useful starting point to compare the types of energy systems currently fuelling the territories as well as the total energy consumption for electricity and heat.

A megawatt (MW)

A megawatt (MW) in the context of this inventory measures the amount of electricity or heat a generating unit can produce from a given fuel. A typical coal powered power station in southern Canada has a generation capacity of around 600-700 MW of electricity.

Energy in watt hours is the multiplication of the generation capacity in watts and time in hours. A megawatt hour (MW∙h) is equal to consumption of 1,000 kilowatts over one hour.

Total installed electrical generation capacity includes backup capacity fuelled with diesel for emergency situations when the primary sources of electricity generation fail. Diesel generators have been chosen because of their reliability and affordability. Even though a community may rely on hydro power as its primary source of electricity, diesel generators are also installed and maintained near the community.

Figure 3
Electricity Capacity by Source
Figure 3 shows total installed capacity.

Photos courtesy of Patrick Kane/Up Here, Dianne Villesèche/www.ravenink.ca and ArcticNet. © 2016 A Northern Vision