Predicting the Future(s) of Renewable Energy in Canada's Arctic: MEOPAR Year of Polar Prediction Project

Regions: Inuvialuit Settlement Region

Tags: renewable energy, engineering, wind energy, climate monitoring

Principal Investigator: Monahan, Adam (1)
Licence Number: 16173
Organization: University of Victoria
Licenced Year(s): 2017
Issued: Sep 19, 2017
Project Team: David Atkinson (co-Principal Investigator, University of Victoria), Laxmi Sushama (co-Principal Investigator, University of Quebec at Montreal), G. Javier Fochesatto (co-Principal Investigator, University of Alaska Fairbanks)

Objective(s): To study how wind power and solar irradiance in the north will change in the future.

Project Description: The objectives of this research project are to:
1) study how wind power and solar irradiance in the north will change in the future;
2) working with GNWT and Power Corp, use an instrumented tower to understand the relationship between wind and solar power with larger-scale weather variations and to analyze problems such as mechanical stresses and ice loading;
3) provide input to refine near-surface processes in the Canadian Regional Climate Model (CRCM) for high-latitude applications; and,
4) consider different energy system model formulations and renewable energy systems in the context of northern communities, and extend the analysis into the mid-21st Century to assess ongoing viability.

This project has three major components: collection of field data with instruments, working on and refining a computer model of the northern atmosphere, and assessing power engineering systems considerations of renewables in the context of small northern communities.

The field data component involves a collaboration with Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) and Power Corporation. GNWT is already committed to the installation of a 30 m tower to analyze wind potential in Sachs Harbour. This project will add a few more instruments to the tower to enhance long-term monitoring of turbulence, icing and structure loading, and perform a limited-term (several months) ground data collection campaign near the base of the tower to better understand near-surface microclimates.

The engineering aspect will involve a visit to the community to work with their power plant operators to learn more about how the power generation and distribution system works in a northern community, such that renewables can be more reliably factored into long-term power solution planning.

The research team will include an assistant from the community to monitor the research equipment, including performing periodic downloads and sending of the data to the research team. If the person is interested, they can be shown how to perform some processing of the data and how to interpret it. They can also be shown how to link what they are seeing at the local scale into the large-scale synoptic weather. Atkinson has another project underwhich these sorts of skills will be taught to several individuals from several communities in the western Arctic; it would make sense if the person retained for Atkinson's project also served on this project. This is something that will be taken up with the existing oversight committee Atkinson's other project has already established.

The research team have previously established an oversight committee for their Marine Environmental Prediction Observation and Response projects; previous research results have been conveyed to them. It is expected that this format will continue. If the oversight committee recommends, the research team will hold a broader town meeting to share with them the nature of the work. It is of clear and direct relevance to the ongoing quality of life in the community, and the team feel there would be a lot of interest. The research team will be ready to provide a community meeting if requested.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from September 19, 2017 to December 31, 2017.