The potential for wind power in Canada’s North

Representatives attending the Energy and Mines Ministers Conference in Whitehorse toured a wind farm at the Rio Tinto Diavik Diamond Mine, North West Territories.  This wind farm is the world’s most Northern large-scale wind-diesel hybrid power facility. This three turbine installation has reduced the Mine’s consumption of expensive diesel fuel by approximately five million litres per annum and GreenHouse gases (GHG) emissions by 6%. (See the Company’s video of this installation.)

This Diavik tour helped the Conference appreciate how wind power can reduce GHG emissions from mine sites. Perhaps the tour was the inspiration for a brief ten word reference to renewable energy in the lengthy Conference Final Press Release.  The press release also stated that the Ministers would continue to discuss many topics, of which investing in renewable energy was one.

Much of this Press Release re-iterated the same themes in Joe Oliver’s keynote speech. For example, the Ministers agreed on the need for new infrastructure, i.e. pipelines and terminals, to ensure that Canada’s natural resources, i.e. oil and gas, reach new markets so that our governments will continue to have revenue for critical social programs.

The title of the Press Release is “Canada’s Energy and Mines Ministers Agree to Continue Critical Work Creating Long-term Prosperity and Protecting the Environment”. There is a need to protect against toxic waste generated by mines.  There is also an equal need to protect against GHG emissions, pollutants with a longer term impact.

The generation of energy required by mining operations in the North is a significant source of GHG emissions.  Use of wind power by the Davik Diamond Mine to generate energy shows what can be done to reduce these emissions.

 

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