Distributed Energy

Rolls-Royce Partners with Northwestel to Deliver Backup Power Systems to Canadian Arctic Communities

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More than 20 MTU Onsite Energy systems will provide backup power and enable uptime and connectivity in more than two dozen communities in Northern Canada

Rolls-Royce is partnering with Northwestel, a Northern Canadian telecommunications company, to help provide reliable high-speed internet access to Nunavut, one of the most remote northern territories of the Canadian Arctic. 23 MTU Onsite Energy diesel generator sets are to supply emergency power. They will be delivered as part of a network infrastructure improvement plan designed to increase connectivity, including internet speeds and broadband capacity, in the territory’s communities.

“Projects like this one in Nunavut remind us how important connectivity and accessibility are to modern life,” said Brian Ponstein, regional sales engineer, MTU Onsite Energy. “We are very happy to provide the power necessary to ensure this connectivity is always available to this remote region of the world.”

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As part of the Canadian government’s “Connect to Innovate” program, Northwestel developed a comprehensive plan to upgrade the region’s telecommunications infrastructure that includes the use of satellite technology with associated receiver dishes in each of the 25 Nunavut communities to increase bandwidth capacity. Each satellite-receiver pair will require backup power to ensure maximum uptime and guarantee service in the event of a power outage.

Nunavut currently has download speeds of 1-3 megabits per second. The goal, by 2019, is to increase those spends three-fold. Longer term, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), the governing body responsible for regulating the broadcasting and telecommunications industries, will require all households in Canada to have download speeds of 50 megabits per second within the next 15 years.

Northwestel partnered with Wajax, Canada’s leading provider of industrial products and services, to design two versions of MTU Onsite Energy’s backup power systems. The 19 “short” version units will include only a generator set and the four “long” units will include a generator set with room for additional radio equipment to accommodate site conditions for each location. Additionally, Wajax’s ERS (Engineered Repair Service) experts ensured each system is equipped with automatic load banks for easy engine maintenance and high-level controls for remote monitoring of the units. The units also include custom Arctic-grade enclosures to protect against the extreme temperatures – up to 22 degrees Celsius in Northern Nunavut – and meet local sound requirements.

“The custom Arctic-grade enclosures are built with cutting-edge technology to combat the area’s extreme weather conditions and to ensure units will continue running during freezing weather and blizzards,” said Andre Charpentier, director of power generation sales in Eastern Canada at Wajax Power Systems.

Generator sets from MTU Onsite Energy are built for high efficiency, low fuel consumption and low emissions and can be found throughout Canada. The Nunavut systems will go into service in November 2018.
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