Renewable Energy Opportunities

Firm Technology Options that Can Replace Diesel as Primary Source of Power

Proven Northern Application Emerging Potential

Run of River Hydro Projects

Power from diverted water that relies on the natural flow of the river and uses a gate or intake structure that controls water flow, or an enclosed pipe to deliver water to hydro turbines in a power plant.

Very Low Head Hydro (1-5MW)

Power from diverted water that relies on minimal elevation difference, in the 4 to 10 metre range. Conventional hydro projects typically require at least 10 metres of drop.

Conventional Hydro Storage Projects

Power from water that is stored in a reservoir or held by a dam and the flow is managed to provide power as needed.

Hydrokinetic turbines (15kW – 200kW)

Fixed hydro turbine with minimal structures intended for river application. Technology is in the pre-commercial stage of testing. Units generally too large for our shallow Northern rivers.

Large Scale Biomass Combined Heat and Power

Biomass, which is wood pellets, wood chips or wood product, is burned in a boiler, creating steam for driving a steam turbine for electrical generation, and having useable heat for a district or industrial heating system. Requires no or very low cost high quality biomass and steam plant operators.

Small Scale Biomass Combined Heat and Power

A boiler can create hot water, driving a specialized low temperature (ORC) turbine to create electricity, and the ORC residual heat can feed a district heat system.

Graphic: Pellets

Tidal Power

Submerged turbine with minimal added structures that relies on current from tide water to generate power.

Wood pellets, above, are a source of biomass that can be burned to create steam which drives a steam turbine for electrical generation. Low or no cost biomass is required to make it an affordable option for primary generation.

Hydro Kite (40kw)

Tethered, steerable, prototype of submerged kite-like structure being tested in the Fraser river.


Geothermal Energy (Power & Heat) 1MW

System that relies on pumping hot fluids to the surface from deep in the earth (3-4 kilometres) to spin a turbine that produces electricity. Residual heat could feed a district heat system.

Diesel Offset Options (Diesel Displacement)

Electricity options that can be used in place of some of the diesel consumed in a community when the renewable energy source is available (i.e. when the wind is blowing or the sun is shining).

Proven Northern Application Emerging Potential

Solar Power

The conversion of sunlight into electricity using photovoltaic arrays. Suitable for residential and utility scale application.

Biomass Combined Heat and Power

Solutions are emerging that allow wood to be gasified or burned to generate electricity and heat by-product. The technology requires a no/low cost biomass source to emerge.


Wind generation is the conversion of wind energy into electricity. Proven as a utility-scale energy source capable of displacing 8 to 10 per cent of diesel consumption in isolated systems.

Airborne Wind Turbine

This is a preliminary concept for a tethered wind turbine that does not rely on conventional tower construction and can conceivably operate at much higher hub height.

Storage Technology

Although expensive to implement today, storage technology continues to improve and has the potential to significantly improve the level of renewable energy that can be relied on to offset diesel and/or natural gas in our remote communities. The only proven renewable storage option at this time is hydro power.

Proven Northern Application Emerging Potential

Water (hydro) as a form of energy storage

Lithium Ion Batteries

Lead Acid batteries

Hydrogen Fuel cells

Nickel Cadmium Batteries

Compressed Air