Recent Developments in Renewable Energy in Remote Aboriginal Communities, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

Konstantinos Karanasios, Paul Parker


An energy transition is being proposed for Labrador’s remote aboriginal communities that are currently serviced by diesel fueled electricity generators. The Nunatsiavut Regional Government (NRG) is concerned about electricity price increases, power outages and shortages that affect economic development in communities. The high cost of connecting the communities to the Labrador or Newfoundland interconnected grids restricts access to clean and affordable hydroelectricity provided by large projects in southwestern Labrador. Instead, the NRG proposed local renewable sources of electricity as the means to improve community wellbeing. This paper reviews the electrical systems, past renewable electricity projects, as well as available renewable resources for electricity generation in Labrador’s isolated communities. A transition from diesel generated electricity to less carbon intensive generation is promoted through utility scale run-of-river projects in five of the 16 communities and wind and solar pilot projects to be developed by the Nunatsiavut Regional Government. A net metering policy encourages community participation in small scale wind and solar applications to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, high electricity expenses and increase development capacity.

Keywords: Newfoundland and Labrador, remote aboriginal communities, indigenous communities, renewable electricity, community ownership, wind, solar

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