Most Akaitcho communities, the Metis and the NWT Energy Corporation (NWTEC) hope to increase the amount of hydro power generation from the Taltson dam by 2008. Reviews and studies must be finished before the Akaitcho First Nations formally agree to the project.
The existing Taltson hydro station is located on the Taltson river, some 56km northeast of Fort Smith and just north of Elsi Falls. It was built in 1965 to supply electricity to a mine, which closed in 1986.
But the Taltson system continued to supply power to Fort Smith and Fort Resolution and at this time the distribution was extended into the communities of Fort Fitzgerald and Hay River.
The full potential of the system has not been exploited and last year, NWTEC started discussions on how to maximise the hydro resources of the Taltson river. The three parties signed a memorandum of understanding in June 2003 to further investigate the development of the hydroelectric resources of the river.
Expanding the generation of electricity at Twin Gorges and selling it to a customer such as the De Beers Snap Lake diamond mine, will create a significant business. Other options include the supply of power to the provinces of Saskatchewan or Alberta. The cost of expanding the existing Twin Gorges site and building the transmission line to Snap Lake is estimated at US$160M.