The abundant energy resources of the NWT are largely untapped and provide the territory with a strategic resource to support future economic development.
In term of renewable energy, the NWT has over 11,000 megawatts of hydroelectric potential. There is also potential for the development of other renewable energy sources such as wind, biomass, solar and geothermal energy. Displacing imported diesel fuel is a key long-term objective in the NWT.
Hydroelectric generation is used in eight communities in the Great Slave Lake area, while natural gas-fired power plants provide electricity to the communities of Norman Wells and Inuvik. The remaining 23 communities have electricity provided by diesel-powered plants.
The high economic and environmental cost of fossil fuels has led to the consideration of alternative energy options. Government, private sector and households have explored wood pellet technology, and the combined annual consumption of pellets in the NWT is in the range of 12,000 tonnes per year.