Provincial and Territorial Energy Profiles – Nunavut
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Figure 1: Electricity Generation by Fuel Type (2018)
Source and Description:
This pie chart shows electricity generation by source in Nunavut. A total of 0.2 TW.h of electricity was generated in 2018.
Figure 2: Electricity Capacity and Primary Fuel Sources Map
Source and Description:
CER, Natural Resources Canada, Qulliq Energy Corporation
This map shows electricity generation facilities in Nunavut. Facilities are shown by capacity and by primary fuel source.
PDF version [1998 KB]
Figure 3: End-Use Demand by Sector (2017)
Source and Description:
This pie chart shows end-use energy demand in Nunavut by sector. Total end-use energy demand was 6.7 PJ in 2017. The largest sector was transportation at 52% of total demand, followed by industrial (at 37%), commercial (at 8%), and lastly, residential (at 4%).
Figure 4: End-Use Demand by Fuel (2017)
Source and Description:
This figure shows end-use demand by fuel type in Nunavut in 2017. Refined petroleum products accounted for 5.8 PJ (87%) of demand, followed by electricity at 0.8 PJ (13%). There was no end-use demand of biofuels, natural gas, or other.
Note: "Other" includes coal, coke, and coke oven gas.
Figure 5: GHG Emissions by Sector
Source and Description:
This stacked column graph shows GHG emissions in Nunavut by sector every five years from 1990 to 2017 in MT of CO2e. Total GHG emissions have increased in Nunavut from 0.27 MT of CO2e in 2000 to 0.59 MT of CO2e in 2017.
- Nunavut does not have any commercial crude oil production.
- Between 1985 and 1996, approximately 3.0 million barrels of crude oil was produced at the Bent Horn field on Cameron Island. The light crude oil produced at Bent Horn was burned in generators at Resolute Bay and at the Polaris Zinc Mine.
- In December 2016, the federal government announced that Canadian Arctic offshore, including areas offshore of Nunavut, is indefinitely off limits to new offshore oil and gas licensing to be reviewed every five years. The first five year review is due in 2021.
- In 2019, the government issued an order, expiring at the end of 2021, prohibiting all oil and gas activities in the Canadian Arctic offshore, including activities associated with existing licenses. Also in 2019, the government announced that it will freeze the terms of existing licenses in the Arctic offshore to preserve existing rights.
- Nunavut’s oil resources are estimated at 18.3 billion barrels.
Refined Petroleum Products (RPPs)
- There are no refineries in Nunavut.
Natural Gas/Natural Gas Liquids (NGLs)
- There is currently no natural gas or NGL production in Nunavut.
- Nunavut’s natural gas resources are estimated at 181.4 trillion cubic feet.
- In 2018, Nunavut generated around 0.2 terawatt hours (TW.h) of electricity (Figure 1), which is less than 0.05% of total Canadian production. Nunavut has a generating capacity of 78 megawatts (MW).
- Qulliq Energy Corporation (QEC), owned by the Nunavut government, is responsible for generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity in Nunavut. QEC operates 25 diesel plants in 25 communities. These communities are not connected by roads or power lines and there is no back-up grid. (Figure 2).
- Almost all of Nunavut’s electricity is generated from diesel fuel imported during the summer and then stored for year-round use. Approximately 55 million litres of diesel are consumed annually to generate electricity in Nunavut.
- Solar panels have been installed at the QEC’s power plant in Iqaluit since March 2016 as part of a pilot project. Solar panels have also been installed at the Arctic Winter Games Arena and Arctic College, both in Iqaluit.
- In April 2018 QEC started accepting applications for its Net Metering Program that allows residential and municipal electricity customers to produce their own electricity through small scale (up to 10 kilowatt (kW)) renewable energy sources, and integrate their surplus energy to QEC’s local grid in exchange for credits for future electricity use.
- In January 2019, QEC completed construction and testing of new diesel power plants at Grise Fiord and Cape Dorset. These diesel plants replaced older, less efficient models, and have the capability of integrating renewable energy sources. In November 2019, QEC submitted a plan to the territorial government to replace older diesel generators in Arctic Bay with more efficient models, add a fourth generator for expanded capacity, and include capability to integrate renewable sources.
- In August 2019 the Canadian federal government, QEC, and the Mayor of Kugluktuk announced joint funding for Nunavut’s first hybrid solar/diesel power plant in Kugluktuk, replacing the existing less efficient diesel facility built in the late 1960s. The project will include a 500 solar system.
Energy Transportation and Trade
Crude Oil and Liquids
- There are no crude oil pipelines or crude-by-rail facilities in Nunavut.
- RPPs, including gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel, are received from neighboring provinces and territories by truck and small vessels. RPPs are distributed throughout the territory in the summer, when the roads and waterways are accessible.
- Nunavut’s harsh climate, sparse population, small community sizes, and large distance from refining centres results in costly delivery of products. The territorial government’s Petroleum Products Division is responsible for the supply, distribution, and delivery of fuel products using private companies or subcontractors.
- There are no natural gas pipelines in Nunavut.
Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)
- There are no current or proposed large-scale LNG facilities in Nunavut.
- There are no regional or territorial electricity grids in Nunavut. All electricity generation is community based.
- Because of long distances to neighbouring provinces and territories, there are no transmission lines to enable the trade of electricity between Nunavut and other jurisdictions.
- The federal government is supporting a study on the feasibility of the proposed Kivalliq Hydro-Fibre Link Project. The project includes a transmission power line and broadband internet connection from northern Manitoba to communities in Nunavut.
Energy Consumption and Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions
Total Energy Consumption
- End-use demand in Nunavut was 6.7 petajoules (PJ) in 2017. The largest sector for energy demand was transportation at 52% of total demand, followed by industrial at 37%, commercial at 8%, and residential at 4% (Figure 3). Nunavut’s total energy demand was the smallest in Canada, and smallest on a per capita basis.
- RPPs were the largest fuel-type consumed in Nunavut in 2015, accounting for 5.8 PJ, or 87%. Electricity accounted for the remaining 0.8 PJ (13%) (Figure 4).
Refined Petroleum Products
- Nunavut is the smallest market in Canada for RPPs. Total 2018 demand for RPPs was an estimated 0.3 thousand barrels per day, or less than 0.1% of total Canadian RPP demand.
- Nunavut’s per capita RPP consumption in 2018 was 465 litres (3 barrels), or 85% below the national average of 3 038 litres per capita.
- A significant portion of Nunavut’s demand for diesel fuel is for power generation. In 2018, nearly all of Nunavut’s installed electricity generation capacity was diesel-fueled.
- Gasoline and diesel (for vehicle use and heating) prices are set by the territorial government on an annual basis and are harmonized by region. The prices across Nunavut are $1.0765 per litre for gasoline and $1.1695 per litre for vehicle diesel, effective January 2020.
- No natural gas is used in Nunavut.
- In 2017, annual electricity consumption per capita in Nunavut was 6.1 megawatt hours (MW.h). Nunavut ranked the lowest in Canada for per capita electricity consumption and consumed 58% less than the national average.
- Nunavut’s largest consuming sector for electricity in 2017 was commercial, at 0.11 TW.h, followed by the residential sector at 0.07 TW.h. Nunavut’s electricity demand has increased 17% since 2005.
- Nunavut has the highest electricity rates in Canada because of low population density and the need for high fuel import requirements. Residential electricity rates are generally subsidized, up to a monthly usage threshold, through a territorial subsidy to equate all rates across the territory, and a public housing subsidy for those customers on income assistance.
- Because electricity is very expensive to generate in Nunavut, solar power might be economically viable there even if Nunavut’s solar resource is not amongst Canada’s best.
- Nunavut’s GHG emissions in 2017 were 585 thousand tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e)Footnote 1 . Nunavut’s GHG emissions have increased 60% since 2000, the first full year after Nunavut was established as a territory.
- Nunavut’s emissions per capita are 15.6 tonnes CO2e – 21% below the Canadian average of 19.6 tonnes per capita.
- The largest emitting sector in Nunavut is transportation at 66% of emissions (Figure 5).
- In 2017, Nunavut’s power sector emitted 143 thousand tonnes CO2e emissions, which represents about 0.2% of Canadian emissions from power generation.
- Government of Nunavut – Fuel Prices for 2020
- Nunavut Energy
- Qulliq Energy Corporation
- CER – Market Snapshot: Overcoming the challenges of powering Canada’s off-grid communities
- CER – Market Snapshot: Explaining the high cost of power in northern Canada
Provincial & Territorial Energy Profiles aligns with CER’s latest Canada’s Energy Future 2019 datasets. Energy Future uses a variety of data sources, generally starting with Statistics Canada data as the foundation, and making adjustments depending on individual province/territory circumstances. Adjustments are necessary to ensure consistency and comparability across provinces/territories.
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