J. Michael Miltenberger: Report on the Northwest Territories Power Corporation

November 6, 2013
Ministers' Statements and Speeches

Mr. Speaker, the Northwest Territories Power Corporation, or NTPC, continues to adapt and manage its resources to meet the needs of the ever-changing environment of power generation in the North.

For the second year in a row, NTPC is addressing low water on the Snare hydro system, however extremely low water at Bluefish this year has added to the challenge.  While NTPC is effectively managing the use of water and diesel to ensure a stable power supply to the North Slave, this Government with the support of the Legislative Assembly contributed $20 million dollars to ensure that additional diesel costs were not incurred by the customer.

Mr. Speaker, looking to develop long-term solutions, NTPC is issuing an expression of interest, for both solar and wind installations, possibly at the Snare Lake hydro facility in the North Slave to determine if there is the possibility of economically adding these alternative energy sources to the generation mix to help offset some of the diesel, should this drought persist.

The 2015 Energy Charrette provided direction and NTPC continues to make decisions and move forward with initiatives that are aligned with the Charrette’s outcomes.  Specifically, a power purchase agreement has been signed with the community of

Łutselk’e to purchase the power from a community-owned solar installation and surplus power generated at the Taltson hydro plant is being used to supply interruptible heat to community-owned buildings. NTPC continues to partner with the newly formed Department of Public Works and Services along with Arctic Energy Alliance to promote the PowerWise conservation campaign acting in the best interest of the customer by helping them lower their power bills, ultimately lowering the cost of living in the territory.

Mr. Speaker, Colville Lake had phase one of its solar array installed in 2014 which peaked in May 2015 at 54 kilowatts of solar energy. The completion of the second array occurred in June 2015. These two installations, in conjunction with the new Colville Lake power plant, including battery energy storage, will provide the community with a higher level of reliable power and is an innovative project that has drawn considerable attention from power generation experts outside the Territory.

Introducing additional alternative renewables into the thermal communities includes the research of two potential wind sites in the Beaufort Delta Region. At this time, research continues to determine which of the two sites – Storm Hills or High Point - has the best business case based on amount of wind recorded and the distance of the site from town – the further away from the community the more expensive to transmit.

Mr. Speaker, NTPC will also complete the conversion from high pressure sodium, or HPS, to LED streetlights in all thermal communities by the end of this fiscal year.  LED streetlights cost, on average, $40 per month, per light, less than HPS – which will result in a significant savings for community governments.

Mr. Speaker, in the first 14 months of the Inuvik liquid natural gas, or LNG, plant operation, $1.1 million was saved as compared to the diesel only alternative and the use of LNG displaced 2,300 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions in the community. With a showing this strong, NTPC and the Department of Public Works and Services are completing a business case and design feasibility for a new LNG storage and generation facility in the Town of Fort Simpson. However, to ensure it is the best solution for that community, the business case will include a comparison against other alternatives such as biomass combined heat and power solutions.

Mr. Speaker, to assist the GNWT, Natural Resources Canada and Arctic Energy Alliance to track energy consumption of their commercial buildings in Jean Marie River, NTPC is piloting an advanced metering system, or AMS, in that community before the end of this fiscal year.  All 42 customers will have new AMS meters installed that provide usage at various intervals for tracking purposes. However there are other beyond-the-meter benefits that can be used in the future to provide customers with two-way meter communications to manage other household appliances and alarms.

Continuing to look for ways to lower the cost of living and the cost of power, NTPC bid on the Town of Hay River’s power distribution Request for Proposals and will continue to work with the community to look at lowering its costs. Hay River is looking for an asset valuation before they make a decision.

Under normal circumstances I would be tabling the fiscal 2015 annual reports for NT Hydro and NTPC during this session of the Legislative Assembly. However, this year NT Hydro and NTPC are converting to the Public Sector Accounting Standard and as a result of the additional work required to report under this new standard, the year-end audit is taking longer than previous years. For fiscal 2015 and going forward, NT Hydro will now be consolidated within the GNWT Public Accounts on a line-by-line basis increasing the disclosure related to this Crown Corporation.

NTPC will continue to operate as efficiently as possible, concentrating on providing safe, affordable and reliable power generation. NTPC will also continue to support the GNWT energy and solar strategy by working together with the Department of Public Works and Services, Energy Division to incorporate more renewables into the Territories’ power generation.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.