North Slave Resiliency Study tabled

YELLOWKNIFE (June 8, 2016) – Minister of Public Works and Services Caroline Cochrane tabled the North Slave Resiliency Study during today’s sitting of the Legislative Assembly.

The study was undertaken in response to a commitment in the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) Mandate to better use our existing hydroelectric resources by exploring options to respond to low water in the North Slave hydroelectric power system.

Conducted by Manitoba Hydro International, the study found that the North Slave hydro system is a reliable, renewable energy source overall, and the most economical, in spite of low water and the need to rely on diesel generation over the past two years.

Highlights of the report’s recommendations include: 

  • Focus on improving hydrology monitoring on the North Slave Hydro system;
  • Examine options to enhance the aging infrastructure on the North Slave Hydro system; and
  • Consider options to offset electricity rate shock due to periodic low water events, such as establishment of a low water fund.


“This study has shown us that the North Slave Hydro system is resilient.  During normal water years, the North Slave Hydro system has surplus renewable energy that serves the needs of Yellowknife, Behchoko, Dettah, and Ndilo.  The GNWT has accepted the recommendations in the report and has proposed resources to address hydrology monitoring in the 2016-17 budget currently being debated in the Legislative Assembly.

  • Caroline Cochrane, Minister of Public Works and Services.

Quick facts

  • The North Slave Hydro system typically supplies 95% or higher hydro generation. Low water in 2015 required a mix of roughly 45% diesel and 55% hydro power.
  • The GNWT provided approximately $40 million in subsidies to the Northwest Territories Power Corporation over the last two years to avoid rate shocks due to reliance on diesel generation.
  • In 2016, Snare River water levels have shown signs of recovery, while the Yellowknife River system remains below average.  June is a critical month for understanding the water situation in each of the water systems. 
  • Any new generation, including biomass, wind, and solar, will go unused most of the time and will add unnecessary expenses to customers’ bills through rate increases.


Media contact

Andrew Livingstone
Senior Cabinet Communications Advisor
Department of Executive
Tel: 867-767-9140 Ext. 11091