Two major Kivalliq solar projects would offset diesel by 30%

Written by Stewart Burnett for Nunavut News

Published August 31, 2022


Blaine Chislett is energy champion for the Indigenous Off-Diesel Initiative (IODI) program. With the support of Sakku Investments Corporation, he's spearheading solar farms in Naujaat and Coral Harbour. PHOTO: Stewart Burnett / NNSL

Blaine Chislett is energy champion for the Indigenous Off-Diesel Initiative (IODI) program. With the support of Sakku Investments Corporation, he's spearheading solar farms in Naujaat and Coral Harbour.

PHOTO: Stewart Burnett / NNSL


Blaine Chislett wants his children to have the same opportunities he had growing up on the nuna.


“I grew up here, I’m part of the community, I am a beneficiary,” said Chislett, maintenance manager for Sakku Properties Limited and energy champion for the Indigenous Off-Diesel Initiative (IODI) program.


He remembers his mother, Bernadette Niviatsia, working on the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement and explaining to her children that she was working for their future. Now, Chislett is pursuing two major solar projects in the Kivalliq to do the same for his children.


“In a small way, this is my way to do the same thing my mother did, give a little bit back,” he said.


As part of the IODI program, Chislett has teamed up with Sakku Investments Corporation and Kivalliq Alternative Energy Ltd. on large-scale solar projects in Naujaat and Coral Harbour. Both are similar in size and have already received financial backing, with initial community consultations having taken place over the summer.


For Chislett, these are not just investment projects, but a hearkening to what he loves about and wants to keep beautiful for Nunavut.


“My three children I have right now, if they choose to grow up in the same way – if they choose to go hunting or they choose to take benefits from the land or they choose to enjoy the land – I would like for them to be able to have that option.”


And diesel spills, in his mind, are a threat to that.


“If we don’t do something about all the diesel spills, all the diesel consumption, then the geese won’t be here, the caribou herd won’t be here anymore, the fish will be gone,” said Chislett. “It just takes one big accident to lose what we’ve got.”



Diesel reduction


The Naujaat solar farm is projected to provide 1 MW solar energy with 1 MWh battery storage, offsetting 30 per cent of the diesel used in the community annually. For Coral Harbour, the project is slightly smaller, at .96 MW solar energy, the same battery storage and 31 per cent annual offset of diesel.


Once up and running, the Naujaat project is forecast to offset 390,000 litres of diesel annually, with the Coral Harbour project offsetting 360,000 litres annually.


Chislett pitched these projects to Sakku Investments Corporation, who signed on board, and he has secured funding from other levels of government and private equity. The Naujaat project is budgeted at $12.8 million, with $11.8 million needed for the Coral Harbour farm.


“It wasn’t a personal gain,” said Chislett about how the initiative came together two years ago. “It wasn’t a company gain. It was strong morals and strong parents that raised me.”

Sakku held public engagements in both communities this summer, which Chislett said went phenomenally.


“They asked proper questions,” he said. “Anything that is worth pushing is going to have a hard question or have people oppose it. But the strongest thing you can do toward alternate energy is educate.”


One question he heard often was whether the projects would reduce the cost of energy. Chislett admitted that they may not, but they would help prevent increases.


Another common question was the solar farms’ locations. Chislett said there are a lot of considerations with that, such as the potential for solar glare to affect pilots and sun availability.


He was also asked if the projects would create jobs, and Chislett said they would during the construction phase, and then there would be hiring for oversight, data collection and maintenance over the life of the solar farms.


Part of his pitch to Qulliq Energy Corporation to buy the solar farms’ energy and offset some of the communities’ diesel use is to give their diesel generators a break, helping extend the life of that infrastructure as well.


“In my lifetime, it would be great to hear silence through the generators,” said Chislett. “But we’ll start with just hearing a break in silence every now and again, which would be a big win.”


The projects have a list of regulatory hurdles and assessments to go through first.

Both solar farms will be flipping the switch and running in 2025, “if the stars align,” said Chislett.



Coral Harbour Project Overview

  • .96 MW solar energy with 1MWh battery storage

  • 2.5 ha (6.5 acre) project area

  • 10 rows of panels

  • 110 metres of new road

  • Anticipated construction start: 2024

  • Anticipated operations start: 2025

  • Project lifetime: 30 years or more

  • 1596 MWh/year of electricity produced

  • 31 per cent of Coral Harbour’s total annual electricity demand

  • 360,000 litres of diesel displacement annually

  • Over project lifetime: 10.8 million litres of diesel displacement, more than 28,000 tones of CO2eq


Naujaat Project Overview

  • 1 MW solar energy with 1MWh battery storage

  • 3.1 ha (7.7 acre) project area

  • 13 rows of panels

  • 70 metres of new road

  • Anticipated construction start: 2024

  • Anticipated operations start: 2025

  • Project lifetime: 30 years or more

  • 1866 MWh/year of electricity produced

  • 30 per cent of Naujaat’s total annual electricity demand

  • 390,000 litres of diesel displacement annually

  • Over project lifetime: 11.7 million litres of diesel displacement, more than 30,000 tones of CO2eq


Environmental Considerations


Pros: once built, solar energy has zero carbon emissions and creates no pollution; low maintenance and long lifespan; reduced fuel requirements locally reduce risk of fuel spills during transport and storage.


Cons: solar energy requires a lot of space; land is disturbed temporarily during construction; some fuel is used during construction.



Source: Kivalliq Alternative Energy Ltd.



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