There are over 100 remote communities in Canada with more than 50 permanent residents each. None are connected to our national power grid. Imagine a microgrid system that offsets diesel use for each one.
Microgrids are small-scale, self-sufficient energy systems. They can be the key to emissions reductions, resilience, and localized control of services—especially in Northern, Indigenous, and remote communities.
But there’s one overarching principle: The communities these microgrids serve need to be at the centre of their development.
The play-by-play: Conditions and opportunities
Conditions are part of any successful microgrid infrastructure investment. Four of them are critical:
Increasing Utility and Regulatory Support for Independent Power Production
New Approaches to Project Financing
If you have any questions about this project, or wish to further discuss it, please contact:
Associate Director, Sustainability
What can microgrids deliver—and what will it take?
Eliminating 25 per cent of diesel generation in 106 diesel-dependent communities requires 84–116 MW of new renewable capacity.
Over 17 years, a wind/solar or pure solar scenario involves:
- Over $1 billion in investment
- 40 million litres of diesel saved annually
- 111,000 tonnes CO2e per year in avoided carbon emissions
- 4,400–5,900 full-time equivalents (FTEs) in project development and construction work between 2023 and 2025
- 960–1403 FTEs of labour demand between 2025 and 2050, and 38–56 FTEs annually.
Project eliminates 6 per cent of all diesel burned for heating and electricity in remote Canada
Sources: The Conference Board of Canada; Pembina Institute.
Opportunities for microgrid deployment
We analyzed the opportunities for 106 communities—96 of which have a majority Indigenous population.