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Provincial and Territorial Energy Profiles – Nunavut

Table of Contents
  • Figure 1: Electricity Generation by Fuel Type (2017)

    Figure 1: Electricity Generation by Fuel Type (2017)

    Source and Description:

    Statistics Canada (Tables 25-10-0020-01 and 25-10-0019-01), NEB Estimates

    This pie chart shows electricity generation by source in Nunavut. A total of 0.2 TW.h of electricity was generated in 2017.

  • Figure 2: Electricity Capacity and Primary Fuel Sources Map

    Figure 2: Electricity Capacity and Primary Fuel Sources Map

    Source and Description:

    NEB, 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 [2000 KB]

  • Figure 3: End-Use Demand by Sector (2016)

    Figure 3: End-Use Demand by Sector (2016)

    Source and Description:

    NEB – Canada's Energy Future 2018

    This pie chart shows end-use energy demand in Nunavut by sector. Total end-use energy demand was 6.7 PJ in 2016. The largest sector was transportation at 57% of total demand, followed by industrial (at 35%), residential (at 4%), and lastly, commercial (at 4%).

  • Figure 4: End-Use Demand by Fuel (2016)

    Figure 4: End-Use Demand by Fuel (2016)

    Source and Description:

    NEB – Canada's Energy Future 2018

    This figure shows end-use demand by fuel type in Nunavut in 2016. Refined petroleum products accounted for 6.3 PJ (94%) of demand, followed by electricity at 0.4 PJ (6%). There was no end-use demand of biofuels, natural gas, or others.

    Note: "Other" includes coal, coke, and coke oven gas.

  • Figure 5: GHG Emissions by Sector

    Figure 5: GHG Emissions by Sector

    Source and Description:

    Environment and Climate Change Canada – National Inventory Report

    This stacked column graph shows GHG emissions in Nunavut by sector every five years from 1990 to 2016 in MT of CO2e. Total GHG emissions have increased in Nunavut from 0.37 MT of CO2e in 2000 to 0.70 MT of CO2e in 2016.

Energy Production

Crude Oil

  • 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.
  • 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.

Electricity and Renewables

  • In 2017, Nunavut generated around 0.2 terawatt hours (TW.h) of electricity (Figure 1), which is approximately 0.03% of total Canadian production. Nunavut has a generating capacity of 54 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 (Figure 2).
  • Almost all of Nunavut’s electricity is generated from diesel fuel imported during the summer and then stored for year-round use. Solar panels have been installed at the QEC’s power plant in Iqaluit as part of a pilot project. Solar panels have also been installed at the Arctic Winter Games Arena and Arctic College, both in Iqaluit.
  • Nunavut is in the initial planning stages of substituting LNG and biomass use for some diesel generation.
  • In August 2017 the Qulliq Energy Corporation applied to build a new diesel power plant in Kugluktuk. The plant would use more efficient generators and allow for the integration of renewables in the future.

Energy Transportation and Trade

Crude Oil and Liquids

  • There are no crude oil pipelines or crude-by-rail facilities in Nunavut.

Natural Gas

  • 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.
  • A transmission power line to Manitoba has been proposed, but construction is not expected to begin before 2022.

Energy Consumption and Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions

Total Energy Consumption

  • End-use demand in Nunavut was 6.7 petajoules (PJ) in 2016. The largest sector for energy demand was transportation at 57% of total demand, followed by industrial at 35%, commercial at 4%, and residential at 4% (Figure 3). Nunavut’s total energy demand was the 2nd smallest in Canada, and the 6th smallest on a per capita basis.
  • RPPs were the largest fuel-type consumed in Nunavut in 2015, accounting for 8 PJ, or 95%. Electricity accounted for the remaining 0.4 PJ (5%) (Figure 4).

Refined Petroleum Products

  • 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 is the second smallest market in Canada for RPPs. Total 2017 demand for RPPs was an estimated 1.1 thousand barrels per day, or less than 0.1% of total Canadian RPP demand.
  • A significant portion of Nunavut’s demand for diesel fuel is for power generation. In 2017, nearly all of Nunavut’s installed electricity generation capacity was diesel-fueled.
  • 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.
  • Gasoline and diesel (for vehicle use and heating) prices are set by the territorial government and harmonized by region.

Natural Gas

  • No natural gas is used in Nunavut.


  • In 2016, annual electricity consumption per capita in Nunavut was 2.9 megawatt hours (MW.h). Nunavut ranked the lowest in Canada for per capita electricity consumption and consumed 80% less than the national average.
  • Nunavut’s largest consuming sector for electricity in 2016 was residential, at 0.07 TW.h. The commercial and industrial sectors consumed 0.04 TW.h and 0.00 TW.h, respectively. Nunavut’s electricity demand has declined 25% since 2005.
  • Nunavut has the highest electricity rates in Canada because of low population density and the need for high fuel import requirements.
  • Nunavut has the potential to generate some energy from solar resources. For example, the hamlet of Chesterfield Inlet has the potential to generate 1.2 MW.h from solar energy annually.

GHG Emissions

  • Nunavut’s GHG emissions in 2016 were 700 thousand tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e).Footnote 1 Nunavut’s GHG emissions have increased 58% since 2000, the first full year after Nunavut was created.
  • Nunavut’s emissions per capita are 18.9 tonnes CO2e – 3% below the Canadian average of 19.4 tonnes per capita.
  • The largest emitting sector in Nunavut is transportation at 57% of emissions (Figure 5).
  • Nunavut has no oil and gas production and therefore, has zero GHG emissions associated with this sector.
  • Data for GHG emissions from Nunavut’s power sector was not available for 2016.

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