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Boost in power sales for Qulliq Energy Corp

Revenue jumps to $156.9 million; rising fuel costs puts pressure on bottom line in 2024
Qulliq Energy Corporation supports just over 200 jobs across Nunavut.

The majority of Qulliq Energy Corporation's funding comes from $156.9 million worth of power sales, according to the Government of Nunavut's 2024-25 budget.

That is a 15.8 per cent increase over the $135.5 million reported in 2022-23.

The federal and territorial governments provide $6 million to QEC, another $1.4 million is generated through the sales of heat and there's $4.7 million via "other revenue," the GN stated.

Of QEC's $171.7 million operations and maintenance budget for 2024-25, the largest single expense will be $74.9 million for materials and supplies. Next is compensation and benefits for staff at $37.4 million, the broad category of 'other expenses' at $30.5 million, service contracts at $14.6 million, purchased services at $7.5 million and travel and transportation at $4.7 million.

Viewed from a regional perspective, $65.7 million is used by QEC's headquarters, $57 million is spent in the Qikiqtaaluk, $25.8 million goes to the Kivalliq and $23.2 million is budgeted for the Kitikmeot.

QEC supports just over 200 jobs.

Fuel pressure

In April, QEC applied to the Utility Rates Review Council for an increase to bills of 3.7 cents per kilowatt hour for a period spanning April 1 to Sept. 30, 2024.

The power corporation said it was necessary due to the increase in fuel prices across Nunavut that took effect in January.

For customers who use approximately 500 kilowatt hours per month, the increase to monthly bills would be close to $20 if the fuel rider is approved.

That followed a general rate increase approved in February, also related to the rising price of fuel.

Generator upgrades approved

Over the next few years, QEC will be replacing generators in Pond Inlet, Coral Harbour, Chesterfield Inlet, Whale Cove and Kugaaruk. The associated cost, approved in late April, is an estimated $32.4 million. These upgrades alone will contribute to an increase of close to 1.5 cents per kWh for customers in the next general rate application.

The generators in Kugaaruk and Chesterfield Inlet are close to 50 years old.

The new generators in Whale Cove, Kugaaruk and Coral Harbour would have greater capacity in anticipation of community growth.

Kivalliq Hydro-Fibre Link

The federal government put $2.8 million toward project development activities for the proposed Kivalliq Hydro-Fibre Link in March. Engineering, design and environmental fieldwork were among the anticipated areas where the money would be put to use.

Construction on the 1,200 km, 150-megawatt transmission line with fibre-optic internet cabling is expected to get underway by 2028. The cost will be upwards of $1 billion.

Inuit-owned Nukik Corporation, based in Rankin Inlet, has taken the lead on the project, which would bring hydro power from Manitoba to the Kivalliq region.

Ottawa had previously budgeted $11.6 million toward the initiative.

Sanikiluaq wind turbine almost ready

Sanikiluaq's wind and battery energy storage project resulted in a 25-year Energy Purchase Agreement involving QEC and the Qikiqtaaluk Corporation's Nunavut Nukkiksautiit Corporation in September 2023.

The wind turbine will generate up to one megawatt of energy for the community of nearly 1,000 residents. With peak demand of close to 750 kilowatts, Sanikilauq will be positioned to achieve full power from this renewable energy when conditions are favourable. The objective is to reduce diesel use by 50 per cent after the turbine begins operation -- targeted for late 2024.

An unspecified share of the revenue generated by the project will be shared with Sanikiluaq.

New president in place

In May, Ernest Douglas was announced as the new president and CEO of Qulliq Energy Corporation.

Douglas was previously in a leadership role with Eastward Energy in Nova Scotia for 14 years. He succeeds Bill Nippard, who was serving as acting president and CEO since the departure of Rick Hunt in October 2023.

Fact file

Nunavut power rates

Residential non-government: 67.33 cents/kWh

Residential government: 102.21 cents/kWh

Residential municipal: 67.33 cents/kWh

Commercial non-government: 55.54 cents/kWh

Source: Qulliq Energy Corporation

About the Author: Derek Neary

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