Innavik Project Updates
The Inukjuak River Hydroelectric Project near the community of Inukjuak is
an initiative of the Pituvik Landholding Corporation (PLC) for all the Inuit beneficiaries in the community of Inukjuak.

The project is an opportunity for Inukjuak to develop a clean energy project to reduce diesel fuel consumption and to promote sustainable economic development
Update February 2010  -  Summary

The Innavik Hydroelectric Project is being developed in collaboration with Hydro-Québec and aims at reducing the community’s dependency on thermal energy generation by replacing it with clean, hydroelectric energy, thus, meeting the village’s basic needs, as well as partially satisfying the demand for space and water heating.  During the course of the study, several development options were considered before the site at the Katattukallak rapids was retained.  This site was selected because it is the only site along the Inukjuak River that satisfies the energy demand of the population in the short and medium term.  By implementing this project, greenhouse gas emissions are expected to be reduced by an average of 15,000 tonnes of CO2 per year, allowing the community of Inukjuak to demonstrate to other communities in Nunavik and Nunavut that it is possible to fight climate change.

The integrated environmental and technical teams have mapped out the project in such as way so as to minimize any negative impacts while maximizing its benefits.  The project has been designed to respect the characteristics of the existing environment as well as designed to preserve the existing fish populations and water quality.  Concrete examples include:

  • The plant will be operated as a run-of-the-river installation and will not modify the river’s flow since only the portion necessary for power generation (a small amount) will be diverted through the water intake to the powerhouse.  This diverted flow will be returned to the river through a tailrace channel that will be discharged at the foot of the main structure.  Therefore, actual water levels downstream of the project site will remain unchanged during operation.  Furthermore, water quality will not be altered as a result of the water’s passage through the turbines located in the powerhouse.  Nevertheless, sampling of the water will be performed on a regular basis so as to ensure quality control.

  • The operating level of the upstream headpond has been selected so as to not influence the natural levels present in Lake Qattaakuluup Tasinga.  Between the lake and the main project site, water levels will be raised so that the community’s energy requirements are still satisfied in 20 years time for the highest projected demand.  The increase in water levels will end at the lake’s outlet where spawning habitats will be created in order to ensure that habitat availability for all stages of the life cycles of fish will remain as abundant as pre-construction conditions.  As a precaution, other spawning habitats will be added downstream of the main project site so that fish that spawn during the fall season are not affected by the construction.

  • Particular care was taken to harmonize the project with the natural landscape and the Inuit culture.  In the near future, a contest will be organised in which artists from Nunavik will be involved in the architectural design of certain components.

  • Local community members will be favored over others for the construction of structures as well as other related work (lodging, community relations, etc.).

  • A significant proportion of profits coming from sale of hydroelectric energy will be reinvested in local project development for the Inukjuak community.

  • An ATV bridge, required for the operation the Innavik Hydroelectric Project, will allow for the community’s access to the south shore.

  • Work performed by the Avataq Cultural Institute, in collaboration with the Pituvik Landholding Corporation, will ensure that the development of the project respects the integrity of archaeological or heritage sites.

  • A ramp built upstream of the works will facilitate boat launching.

The main conclusions of the environmental impact statement are:

  • The project will not significantly impact vegetation, birds or mammals;

  • The revenues generated from the production of hydroelectric energy will have significant positive impacts on the socio-economic development of the community;

  • Precautions taken during the design phase have allowed for the protection cultural heritage sites;

  • Fish and fish habitat will be protected by the placement of a protection system at the entrance to the power intake and the creation of spawning habitats;

  • Water quality will remain the same as in pre-construction conditions and the bioaccumulation of mercury in fish is not expected to occur;

  • An architectural approach, based on the work of Inuit artists, will ensure the project’s visual integration into the landscape.
Update January 2009  /  Project Milestones

The Inukjuak River Hydro Project has reached two key Milestones since October 2008:

  • Feasibility Study Plan Completed: The project Feasibility Plan for the Innavik Hydro Electric Project is complete.  It has been reviewed by the PLV Board and presented to project partners, Hydro Quebec, and the governments of Canada and Quebec.    This plan lays out in some detail the approach that PLC will adopt to complete the Feasibility Study for the project. 

  • Project Application Filed with Quebec Ministry of Natural Resources: Led by Engineering Partner, Groupe RSW, the application to consider use of the waters of the Inukjuak River for hydro power generation has been filed with the Ministry of Natural Resources.  Over the next year, this will trigger an environmental review process to ensure that the environment is protected.  This process has also involved consultations with the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

Major Activities

The Inukjuak River Hydro Project Team has been active:

  • Government of Canada Presentations: Led by PLC President, Eric Atagotaaluk a delegation made presentations on the Innavik project to the government of Canada in Ottawa, including to a well attended session in Ottawa organized by the Inuit Relations Secretariat.   Funding requests have been submitted to federal agencies led by PLC Clean Energy Advisor, Lumos Energy.

  • Project Partnership Discussions: PLC has been engaged in discussions with Groupe RSW regarding their participation as Project Engineering Partner. 

  • Hydro Quebec: Project discussions with Hydro Quebec continue to be quite active.  PLC has presented Hydro Quebec with the project plans, and is seeking a formal response from the provincial utility on their collaboration in the Innavik project.

Next Steps 

In the next 3 months, Inukjuak River Hydro Project Team plans to be focused on the following areas:

  • Feasibility Study Ramp-Up: Over the next few months the Feasibility Study process for the project will become much busier.  Groupe RSW will begin preliminary project design work, and planning for the Environmental Impact Assessment scheduled to begin in the Summer 2009

  • Government of Quebec Presentations: The PLC Board, Management and Advisors are planning presentations to government of Quebec agencies to get them more actively involved in supporting aspects of the project.
Update October 2008  /  Project Milestones

The Inukjuak River Hydro Project has reached 2 Milestones since May 2008:

  • Feasibility Study Plan Nearing Completion: The project Feasibility Plan is nearing completion.  This plan lays out in some detail the approach that PLC will adopt to complete the Feasibility Study for the project.  It lays out tasks and time tables and is used to keep the project on track.  Preparing the Plan has been an interactive process between the PLC Board and Clean Energy Advisor, Lumos Energy and Groupe RSW. 

  • Project Meetings:  Government of Quebec and Hydro Quebec:  In the summer months, PLC Vice-President, Michael Kasudluak and Treasurer, Tommy Palliser travelled to Montreal and Quebec City for meetings with officials of the Government of Quebec and Hydro Quebec.  Ministries such as Economic Development, Aboriginal Affairs, Natural Resources, Housing and Environment were consulted about the project.  In addition, PLC Directors met with the Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister of Quebec to brief him about the project.

Major Activities

The Inukjuak River Hydro Project Team has been active:

  • Environmental Baselines Completed:  PLC’s engineering company on the project, Groupe RSW has been very active in the late summer/early fall.  Three major activities have been completed, or shall be completed shortly:  LIDDAR Radar mapping of the hydro site, reservoir and adjacent lands, environmental baselines of fishery, habitat and wildlife; and installation of a hydraulic meter on the Inukjuak River.

  • Project Financing:  Lumos Energy has been leading efforts to secure funding for the Feasibility Stage of the project.

Next Steps 

In the next 3 months, Inukjuak River Hydro Project Team plans to be focused on the following areas:

  • Project Briefing Ottawa:  PLC President will travel to Ottawa to present the project to a range of officials at the headquarters of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada.  The session has been arranged by INAC’s, Aboriginal Affairs Secretariat

  • Hydro Quebec:  Discussions will be advanced with Hydro Quebec to determine the utility’s participation in the project, and the process of power procurement

  • Discussions with Groupe RSW:  PLC will be meeting with Groupe RSW to plan out the details for the engineering components of the Feasibility Study, and to determine the nature and terms of Groupe RSW’s participation in the project.

Update April 2008  /  Project Milestones

The Inukjuak River Hydro Project has reached 3 Milestones since January 2008:

  • Pre-Feasibility Study Completed:  The project Pre-Feasibility Study has been completed by Groupe RSW of Montreal.  The study examined the potential of several hydro sites near the community and provided recommendations on a preferred site on the Inukjuak River.  Pituvik thanks Hydro Quebec for its support of the Pre-Feasibility Study. 

  • Services of Clean Energy Advisor Obtained:  Pituvik has secured the on-going services of Chris Henderson, President of Lumos Energy as Clean Energy Advisor to the project.  Chris is the leading clean energy advisor to First Nation and Inuit communities across Canada.

  • Community Planning Meeting Held and Feasibility Study Motion Approved:  A very important Community meeting on the project has held in Inukjuak, on April 22nd, which also happened to be Earth Day.  The beneficiaries heard about the project and identified issues such as water quality, fish and habitat that need to be considered.  The beneficiaries approved a Motion to proceed with the Project Feasibility Study over the next 18-24 months.

Major Activities

The Inukjuak River Hydro Project Team has been active:

  • Reviewing the RSW Pre-Feasibility Study including several meetings with RSW personnel, and technical reviews of the study by Lumos Energy.

  • Participating in Aboriginal Clean Energy Conferences to equip the project team with information and know how about small hydro development.

Next Steps 

In the next 3 months, Inukjuak River Hydro Project Team plans to be focused on the following areas:

  • Environmental Baselines:  Prepare a plan and seek to obtain financial support for Environmental Baseline studies to be completed in the summer/fall 2008.

  • Partner and Supporter Briefings:  Project briefings to Hydro Quebec, and key ministries/agencies in the Quebec government, and to Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC).

  • Project Funding:  Seeking support for Feasibility Study and implementation of the project
Update February 2010  -  Background

In 2007, the Pituvik Landholding Corporation (PLC) mandated RSW Inc. (RSW) to perform a prefeasibility level study to identify sites along the Inukjuak and Kongut Rivers and examine the possibility of producing part or all of the electrical needs of the community from hydroelectric sources.  It was demonstrated that one site, called Site I3, which is located on the Inukjuak River, satisfies all the anticipated basic demand in addition to a large proportion of the heating demand on a 20 year horizon, termed the project life.  Although a hydroelectric facility can generally last for 40 to 50 years without major refurbishing, this period was selected as the basis for the studies due to the rapidly changing situation in regards to high population growth.

The results of the prefeasibility study were presented to the community in the spring of 2008, where the population of Inukjuak approved continuing to the next phase: the completion of a Feasibility Study as well as conducting an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).  RSW began work on both of these documents at the end of 2008. 
In parallel to the two studies, the PLC initiated steps to obtain financing for the technical studies and the project’s construction.  A Gas Emissions Study (GES) was also performed in order to evaluate the amount of emissions that would be eliminated by the completion of the project.  This study found that with the implementation of the project, the community as a whole would reduce its carbon footprint by an estimated 8000 tonnes of CO2 emissions during the first year of operation, attaining 15000 tonnes after 10 years of operation and this, while only considering the supply of hydroelectric energy to satisfy the basic energy demand. 

Discussions were also initiated with Hydro-Quebec Distribution’s (HQD) isolated grid subdivision with the aim of establishing a Power Purchasing Agreement (PPA).  With HQD being responsible for providing energy for the basic energy demand, technical committees were also set up so as to define the technical and regulatory requirements of the installations that will replace the current diesel power generation.  These included:

Transmission and interconnection;
Redundancy of equipment;
Preparation of the approval of the PPA to be presented to the Régie de l’énergie du Québec;
The phasing out of the diesel generators.

Technical Design

The project consists in an 8 MW facility with a 15 m high Roller-Compacted Concrete (RCC) spillway-dam with an integrated intake and two 120 m long high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and steel penstocks leading to two vertical Saxo axial turbine-generator (TG) units housed within a small powerhouse.  Due to HQD’s redundancy criteria, one unit is sufficient for providing energy for all the basic demand for a 20 year horizon, which allows for the possibility of using the standby unit for the production of energy destined for the heating of houses and water.   However, the latter possibility is dependant on the conversion of the oil-furnaces that are currently installed in the houses and buildings of Inukjuak to bi-energy units.

The remainder of the works of the project consist in a tailrace channel, excavated on the north riverbank, which discharges the flow routed to the powerhouse back into the river and a 10 km long, 25 kV transmission line beginning at the powerhouse which transits the energy produced at the generating station to the existing Hydro-Québec distribution substation and grid.

The feasibility study essentially shows that a hydroelectric facility can be constructed near the village of Inukjuak, and would provide 100% of base load energy for the next 20 years as well as satisfy a substantial portion (from 80% to 50 %) of the heating demand.

Furthermore, the study shows that there is no economic value in limiting the electrical production of the plant to the base load only, as the dam and other components of the project are required to ensure the redundancy and the reliability of the production equipment.  As a result, the surplus energy must be sold to replace heating needs, which may require changes to certain regulatory aspects.  The government of Québec needs to be informed that without modifications to the present situation, it will be very difficult to replace fuel-based energy by renewable energy in Nunavik.

Even though the realization costs are much larger than in sourthern parts of the province, the selling rate of energy is still competitive with regards to the existing operating costs of HQD’s four diesel generators and the fuel-oil furnaces used for space and water heating.

With the untapped potential of its neighbouring river, Inukjuak could very well be one of the first remote communities of northern Canada to reduce a large proportion of its dependency on hydrocarbon-based energy by replacing it with renewable energy, thus reducing the community’s greenhouse gas emissions.