Whati Mini Hydro Feasibility Study
To cut its dependence on diesel-generated electricity, the lakeside northern community of Whati studied construction of a hydroelectric system powered by running water from the nearby La Martre River Falls, which flow out of Lac Le Martre.
The study found that energy from the river's natural flow could provide 1,200 kilowatts of hydro power, enough to replace the 1,015 kilowatts supplied by the community's diesel generators. The project would require construction of a reservoir, a turbine-equipped powerhouse fed by a 1,284-metre pipe from the river, and overhead wires to distribute the electricity.
The system would eliminate the need to truck in 400,000 litres of diesel fuel each year from Yellowknife, which is 164 kilometres to the southeast over roads only open in the winter.
- Funding for the hydroelectric project is subject to Northwest Territory budget constraints.
- Reliability of the water supply could be threatened by weather conditions.
- Lower winter water flows could lead to electricity restrictions when cold weather demand is highest.
- Storage reservoirs may be needed to ensure sufficient water to generate power and maintain river ecosystems.
- Be prepared for a lengthy study period.
- Government financing for alternative energy projects can be uncertain.
Partners and Collaborators
Community Energy Coordinator