Image: Inuvik Wind Project: Detailed regulatory studies

Sustainability2 min read

Inuvik Wind Project: Detailed regulatory studies

Inuvik, NT
Government of Northwest Territories and Nihtat Corporation
2016 – 2018

Ausenco conducted this project’s Traditional Knowledge and Traditional Land Use Study to learn more about traditional land use (including traditional foods) in the project area.

Project description

This GNWT was investigating the feasibility of developing a wind energy project that would provide renewable energy to the town of Inuvik. Electrical generation in the community of Inuvik was being provided by diesel and natural gas. This project was part of the Government of Northwest Territories’ larger energy strategy and effort to reduce fossil fuel consumption in remote Northwest Territories communities. The project included the construction and operation of a wind generator, an all-season road, transmission line, electrical system upgrades and an energy storage system. The team worked to refine and de-risk the project in preparation for a funding decision and procurement. The scope of work also included linear features (access road and transmission line), in the NWT, requiring an assessment under the MVRMA.

Scope of work

Ausenco was responsible for building a regulatory roadmap from design through to construction. We were responsible for all regulatory aspects of the project, except consultation. Our team developed a regulatory risk register and contributed to the design , Feasibility Study and master project dchedule. This allowed our team to gain the necessary approvals to conduct both environmental baseline and TK-related work in the NWT, including a Research Agreement from the Gwich’in Tribal Council, a Research Ethics Approval from the Aurora College Research Ethics Committee, and Scientific Research Licences from the Aurora Research Institute. Our team effectively engaged federal, territorial and Gwich’in governments regarding the scope of design of environmental studies. The studies were designed to satisfy regulatory needs while also minimizing long-term monitoring requirements. We completed intensive migratory bird surveys, grizzly bear denning and incidental wildlife observations while managing vegetation mapping. We were also responsible for conducting Traditional Knowledge and Traditional Land Use Study for the project, and managing the Heritage Resources component. A Traditional Knowledge and Land Use Workshop was held to learn more about traditional land use (including traditional foods) in the project area, and to better understand the potential effects the project may have on the land and resources (including plants, wildlife, birds, etc.). Our team coordinated archaeological components required for the project and reviewed results of the Heritage Resource Overview Assessment (HROA). We engaged Gwich’in support and mentored staff during the environmental programs, and coordinated recruitment of Gwich’in and Inuvialuit Elders and land users to participate in the TK/TLU studies. Our team set the approach, coordinated the inputs, and developed the required information for a Land Use Permit Application submission to the Gwich’in Land and Water Board, under the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act. Our team of EA/SEA Specialists, supported by Geomatics and Document Delivery, met both schedule and budget. Ausenco’s northern-based team coordinated a multi-disciplinary group of specialists, engaged community support, collected baseline data, delivered TK/TLUs and integrated consultation/engagement information into MVRMA documentation.