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Front End Engineering Design Study (FEED) of Xstrata’s Raglan Renewable Electricity Micro-Grid & Smart-Grid Pilot Demonstration

Lead Proponent:  TUGLIQ Energy Co.
Location:  Nunavik, Northern Quebec
ecoEII Contribution:  $ 720,000
Project Total:  $ 2,009,000

Project Background:

Picture of an engineer surveying a wind farm site

An engineer surveys the wind farm site

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Glencore’s Raglan complex is the longest-running mine in the Canadian Arctic, situated in Nunavik at the extreme northern tip of Quebec.  Raglan is also the Canadian Arctic’s largest consumer of diesel, and the largest emitter of greenhouse gases.  The mine complex consumes 60 million liters of diesel per year - more than all 14 villages of Nunavik combined.  Because of its remoteness, Raglan is beyond the foreseeable reach of public utilities’ grids or conventional gas distribution and has relied exclusively on diesel to service its operating loads.  However, exclusive reliance on diesel creates increasing cost pressures on mining operations, and presents heightened environmental risks in one of the most fragile eco-systems on the planet.

Glencore has plans to update and expand Raglan’s capabilities and extend the mine’s life to 2034, and as a result revaluated the mine’s operations.  A new “Energy Diversification Strategy” was developed for the mine, and a pilot project was proposed to kick-start implementation of the Strategy, and act as a flagship for the region.

The proposed “Raglan Renewable Electricity Micro-Grid & Smart-Grid Demonstration Project” was awarded $720,000 from ecoEII towards a Front End Engineering and Design (FEED) study to determine the feasibility of the project.


The FEED study was led by Glencore’s technology partner TUGLIQ Energy Co.  Different project sites were evaluated, and careful analysis on the social and environmental impacts was performed.  Upon consultation with local Inuit communities, and with Glencore, Raglan’s satellite Mine 2 site (located ninety kilometers inland) was selected as the preferred site for the pilot project.  Wind flow and energy production potential for Mine 2 were calculated using data collected from an on-site meteorological mast, confirming that the site had excellent wind resources and would be suitable for the proposed project.

The study determined that it would be technically feasible to implement a wind-diesel-storage solution at Mine 2 with high wind penetration.  It would comprise of an Arctic-hardened multi-megawatt turbine coupled to a 3-tiered state-of-the-art storage system and the existing diesel generators.  The combined flywheel, battery and hydrogen energy storage system would provide active power control, power smoothing, and spinning reserves, thereby stabilizing and improving the quality of power on the micro-grid.

Benefits to Canada:

At present, diesel-based generation is the unique and pervasive source of energy for remote communities and mining operations in Northern Canada.  Combining wind energy with diesel generation reduces consumption of diesel fuel and extends the life cycle of diesel generators.  Adding an energy storage system enables a higher penetration of wind energy, makes for a more stable energy supply and can further reduce diesel generated electricity costs. 

Raglan’s project has the potential to make a significant transformative contribution to the energy landscape in the Arctic.  It is estimated that 2.4 million liters (equivalent to 50 percent) of Mine 2’s annual diesel consumption could be displaced.  If successful, the project could spawn further expansion of wind energy production not only at Raglan, but also in larger Inuit communities throughout the region.  The FEED study results, analysis performed and data gathered all contribute to a greater knowledge base for industries and communities across Northern Canada that are working towards reducing their dependency on diesel.

Next Steps:

As a result of the work undertaken and the results attained by the FEED study, the proponent was awarded further funding from ecoEII to proceed with implementation of the demonstration project.

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