6.1 Trends in total energy use in the NWT

Last Updated: 
October 28, 2015


This indicator measures the total quantity of energy used in the Northwet Territories (NWT) from all sources.

Energy from diesel, gasoline, aviation fuels, heating oil, natural gas, propane, biomass and hydro electricity sources are all included.

The data for this indicator are obtained from the NWT taxation database (Department of Finance) and the NWT Power Corporation. Interpretation of the information is provided by the departments of Environment and Natural Resources and Industry, Tourism, Industry and Investment.

Chimney with smoke
Fossil fuel use for home heating.

The data for this indicator are obtained from the NWT Bureua of Statistics and the NWT Energy Division, Public Works and Services. Interpretation of the information is provided by ENR and ITI, GNWT.

This indicator replaces 6.1 Trends in energy derived from petroleum products published in 2009.

NWT focus

As outlined in the Energy Priorities Framework1, the goals of the NWT are to reduce dependence on imported fossil fuels, mitigate environmental impacts of our energy use and to reduce the cost of living in the NWT.

The GNWT and its partners, such as NT Hydro, are currently developing and promoting the use of renewable energies in the NWT including hydro electricity generation, biomass, solar, wind and geothermal energy sources according to the NWT Energy Action Plan2. The GNWT has also invested heavily in energy efficiency retrofits for government buildings and provided substantial support to the Arctic Energy Alliance to help communities and residents reduce their own energy use. 

Current view: status and trend

The use of energy in the NWT has increased by an average of more than 20% since 2001 - from a total of 14.7 million GJ in 2000 to more than 20 million GJ in 2011. About 40% of energy used in the NWT is by industry and 30% by transport3. The observed changes in energy consumption is consistent with increased industrial activity and Gross Domestic Product in the same time period. (See Focal Point: ECONOMY).

Total annual NWT energy consumption in gigajoules (GJ)
Energy use in gigajoule (GJ), derived from the imported fossil fuels (petroleum products such as diesel, gasoline, aviation gasoline, aviation turbo,  propane, local natural gas hydroelectricity and biomass (wood pellets) in the NWT. This figure was produced using data obtained from the NWT Bureau of Statistics and GNWT Public Works and Services, Energy Planning Division.

Looking forward

To date, about eight percent of energy used in the NWT is from renewable sources. Hydro and biomass are two of the most widely used renewable energy sources. The generation of hydro electricity, used in eight NWT communities, has dropped since 2001. This is due  to a reduction in demand caused by the shutting down of the Con and Giant mines as well as an increase in the adoption of more efficient applications and light bulbs in the NWT3. Low water levels may also further impact hydo-electricity production, if they continue4. (See 3 Climate and Weather Focal Point and 6.2 Trends in electrical generation indicator.)

The use of wood pellets for heating purposes is on the rise and is expected to persist as the GNWT continues to promote the use of this technology in the NWT. In 2007, 568,904 litres of heating oil were derived from wood pellets and by 2011 this had risen to 2.1 million litres3. The consumption of cordwood  has remained stable during this same period. 

Solar and wind energy production are predicted to increase as additional grid-tied or off-grid producing projects are developed and engineering and economic challenges associated with installing these new technologies in a cold climate, at high latitude and in variable winds are resolved1,2,3.

Looking around

Overall demand for energy in Canada has been on the rise and so has the development of renewable sources of energy. However, the rate of increase differs between jurisdictions5.

Technical Notes

  • Terajoule: 1 x 1012 Joule. The energy of the maximum fuel an Airbus A380 can carry is 1000 terajoule. The total human energy consumption per second is 1500 terajoule. 

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Contact us

    Found an error or have a question? Contact the team at NWTSOER@gov.nt.ca.


    Ref. 1 - Ministerial Energy Coordinating Committee. 2008. Energy priorities framework. GNWT. 

    Ref. 2 - GNWT and partners. 2013. Northwest Territories Energy Action Plan. GNWT. 

    Ref. 3 - GNWT and partners. 2011. Northwest Territories Energy Report. GNWT.

    Ref. 4 - GNWT. 2015. GNWT contribution to NTPC to prevent power rate increase. News Release September 2, 2015.

    Ref. 5 - Statistics Canada. 2012. Energy.