Raglan Mine Operates its Second Wind Turbine

posted: 09/10/2018

In August 2018, Raglan Mine assembled its second wind turbine. Ninety metres in height, the mine’s newest wind turbine is yet another step toward embracing renewable energy at Raglan Mine and reducing the impact of their operations on the environment.

The project is a multi-party partnership, including TUGLIQ Energy, whose experts were the project managers for the construction of this impressive structure.  

Acting as a robust duo, together the two wind turbines at Raglan Mine are forecasted to produce about 10% of the mine’s total energy, save approximately 4.4 million litres of diesel fuel annually, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 12,000 tonnes – the equivalent of taking 2,700 vehicles off the road.

Fully installed and integrated into Raglan Mine’s electrical grid, the second wind turbine is now operational.

Why the Raglan Mine wind turbines are important

In the past, wind energy has had little success in the northern parts of Canada. The few wind projects that were installed over the last 30 years failed to operate within a few years of their implementation, mostly because the technology was too new. Rotating machines are very difficult to operate in the frigid temperatures and fierce weather conditions typical of the north. Because wind is so variable in nature, these projects are extremely challenging to integrate with power plants that operate on diesel. Over the years, costs have remained high for installation, operation and maintenance.

But Raglan Mine broke that trend in 2014 with the erection of its first wind turbine. With a strong steel foundation and construction, the structure successfully combats permafrost and reduces the amount of concrete and sand needed (which are very expensive to acquire and transport to the mine’s remote site).

Raglan Mine’s facilities are not connected to the hydroelectric or natural gas networks, so the mine must produce its own electricity using diesel fuel. Over the last few years, Raglan Mine has begun to explore different options that would enable it to reduce its dependence on fossil energy and decrease greenhouse gas emissions. The mine wanted to incorporate green energy into its power generation portfolio in a gradual way and after years of careful study on the potential of wind power, it became clear that this would be an excellent solution for Raglan Mine.

Always calculated and thorough in its approach, not only did Raglan Mine collect wind speed data from three wind-monitoring stations, but it also consulted directly with neighbouring communities, including Salluit and Kangiqsujuaq. Sharing research results and asking openly for feedback and concerns, Raglan Mine discovered that the local Indigenous communities were worried about potential impacts on the environment and wildlife. This prompted Raglan Mine to modify the original wind farm concept in order to mitigate the concerns of local communities.

First steps 

In August of 2014, the first step in Raglan Mine’s plan was executed with the erection of one wind turbine on site. It has become a flagship site for industrial-scale wind power development in the region and successfully demonstrates that by harvesting wind energy, significant improvements can be made in long-term economic stability, energy security, greenhouse gas emissions and the overall environmental footprint of mining operations in the northern part of Canada. 

Once Raglan Mine’s first wind turbine was up and fully functional, the second step in the process was just as critical as the first: integrate an energy storage system with the existing energy network. This was required in order to maximize the energy penetration from the wind turbine, which took time but was completed in 2015. And now, some three years later, Raglan Mine’s installation of its second wind turbine is complete.

Changing the energy landscape of the Arctic

The wind turbines installed at Raglan Mine have successfully proved that there is a way to cultivate and use renewable forms of energy in the North. Our Raglan Mine sits atop a plateau that is 600 metres high on the Ungava Peninsula, so it is very well situated to take advantage of the power of wind. Since 2014, Raglan Mine’s first wind turbine and its associated storage facility have saved 7.5 million litres of diesel and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 21 kilotonnes. 

Poised to pave the way for other such projects to adopt greener energy alternatives, it may just be that Raglan Mine’s wind turbines create a ripple effect that results in profound, transformational impacts on the way energy is produced and used throughout Northern Canada. Recognizing the potential of the project, the Mining Association of Canada awarded Glencore and Raglan Mine with a TSM Environmental Excellence Award in 2016.