Northern Energy Innovation wins regional award for work in Nunavut

Dr. Michael Ross and Simon Geoffroy-Gagnon in Arviat, Nunavut

WHITEHORSE, YT— Yukon University’s Northern Energy Innovation (NEI) research program placed third in the IEEE Electrical and Computer Engineering Capstone Competition for its work on the Arviat Power System Impact Study in Nunavut. NEI is one of seven winners to be acknowledged for their exceptional contribution in the jurisdiction of Northern Alberta and all three territories. 

NEI has spent the past four years helping northern communities reduce their reliance on diesel and incorporate renewable energy through electric power grid assessments. Dr. Michael Ross and his team completed a power grid assessment for the Hamlet of Arviat and NRStor for a renewable energy project that will integrate wind, solar, and a battery system into their local power system as an independent power producer. This project is a partnership between the Hamlet of Arviat and NRStor, and when complete there will be 50% renewable energy penetration, which will account for5GWh of renewable energy every year. 

“Our team is committed to working with northern communities and their utility companies to provide the information needed to incorporate sustainable energy into their power systems”, said Dr. Michael Ross, NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Northern Energy Innovation. “What makes our projects successful is that we are guided by the communities, supported by the utilities, with a dedicated and talented team of professionals and students”, said Dr. Ross.  

The study determined the amount of energy the community could generate from renewable sources while ensuring the reliability and stability of the power system. The energy balance was comprised of 55% renewable energy, with the inclusion of a 2 MWh battery to reduce stress upon the diesel generators. Study results indicated that the addition of renewable resources and battery energy storage would have little effect on the stability of the system, while extending the system’s transmission lines to connect the appropriate wind and solar resources.  

"We are incredibly proud of the high calibre of research Dr. Ross and his team produce, and the team's standing in this competition validates that”, said Dr. Bronwyn Hancock, VP Research Development. “Our researchers are not only supporting communities across Canada’s North, they are providing employment opportunities for our students and community members”, said Dr. Hancock. 

NEI has worked with nine communities in Nunavut, Northwest Territories, and Yukon to understand their energy challenges and develop solutions that are directly related to the needs and realities of each community.   

Northern Energy Innovation (NEI) is a research program led by Industrial Research Chair Dr. Michael Ross at Yukon University and funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and partner utilities. The program focuses on electric power system engineering research and partners with the four utilities across northern Canada: Yukon Energy Corporation, ATCO Electric Yukon, Northwest Territories Power Corporation and Qulliq Energy Corporation (Nunavut). NEI’s projects aim to address the needs of northern communities and the northern electric power industry.   

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About YukonU  

Yukon University is a flexible post-secondary institution that includes a place and pathway for every learner. Our students let their passions roam while being grounded in education and research relevant to the North. Our resourceful and creative graduates are building a resilient, versatile and ambitious future for all northerners.  

With over 50 degree, diploma, certificate and trades programs, local learners can access opportunities without needing to leave home — those from across Canada and internationally are invited to deepen their understanding of our rapidly changing circumpolar world.   

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For more information, contact:  

Jason Zrum

Research Assistant

Northern Energy Innovation
YukonU Research Centre

Dr. Michael Ross

Industrial Research Chair in Northern Energy Innovation

Northern Energy Innovation
YukonU Research Centre

Tanis Davey

Marketing and Communications Coordinator

University and External Relations