Indigenous and local communities, researchers, policy makers, and decision makers may approach energy through different lenses, but agree that clean and secure energy futures are essential for the resilience of Arctic communities. Governments make it a national priority, and it has implications across borders. At individual and community levels, energy needs and decisions are weighed against other priorities, equally important, and often as equally constrained. 

Energy is one of the priorities of the Icelandic Chairmanship of the Arctic Council (2019-2021) and focus areas of the Council’s Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG) and Arctic Contaminants Action Program (ACAP).  Work is ongoing to promote the responsible and sustainable management, use, and development of energy and resources, as well as innovative approaches encouraging renewable energy in even the most remote Arctic communities. Energy challenges and opportunities are present at every scale and intrinsically tied to other issues such as housing; economies; health and wellness; climate; food; and sovereignty. 

Energy can be constraint to growth, or a means to achieve a greater vision. As our changing climate, increasing costs, and health necessitate a transition away from diesel dependence, what does that look like? What tools are available, and what enabling factors are necessary, to support that transition? What is the role of policy in advancing innovative energy projects and outcomes? And how are Indigenous communities, for whom the Arctic is their homelands, leading the way? 

This session will consider those questions, and highlight how energy is being transformative across the Arctic. 

To watch the full session recording visit the SDWG YouTube page. 

2nd Arctic Resilience Forum: Renewable Energy Session – 21 October 2020

11:30am ET    Welcome & Context for Resilience and Energy in the Arctic
                            Jennifer Spence, Executive Secretary, Sustainable Development Working Group
                            Chief Dana Tizya-Tramm, Vuntut Gwich’in First Nation, Old Crow, Yukon, Canada

11:45am ET    Demonstrating energy innovation in the Arctic 
                            Presentations from four projects, followed by a discussion and Q&A with all attendees

  • Snowflake International Research Station – A futuristic research station powered fully by renewable energy (Russian Federation)
    Yury Vasiliev, Executive Director, Institute of Arctic Technologies, Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology
    Oskar Njaa, General Manager for International Affairs, The Bellona Foundation

  • Akureyri – A town transitioning to renewable energy (Iceland)
    Guðmundur Haukur Sigurðarson, General Manager of Vistorka

  • Smart Senja – An innovative energy system for small communities (Norway)
    Berit Kristoffersen, Associate Professor, UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Arctic Centre for Sustainable Energy

  •  Old Crow Solar Project – Moving from diesel to solar power (Canada)
    Chief Dana Tizya-Tram, Vuntut Gwitchin Government, Old Crow

12:30pm ET    Enabling factors & tools to advance this work
                             Jennifer Spence, Executive Secretary, Sustainable Development Working Group
                             Devlin Fernandes, Executive Director, Gwich’in Council International    

12:35pm ET    Q&A on the role of policy in advancing innovative energy projects and outcomes 
                            Kristín Linda Árnadóttir, Chair of the Arctic Council’s Expert Group on Black Carbon and Methane interviewed by Jennifer Spence

Audience questions will follow moderated Q&A

12:50pm ET    Reflections and Closing
                              Chief Dana Tizya-Tramm
                              Jennifer Spence


Organized by:

Dana Tizya-Tramm, Chief, Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation
Chief Dana Tizya-Tramm was elected Chief of the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation in November 2018 and provides leadership and direction for the Vuntut Gwitchin Government as well as overseeing executive, financial, operational, and general management. He brings years of experience in project management, strategic thinking, youth advocacy, organizational development, inspirational speaking, and governance. He has been co-chair of Gwich’in Council International, president of the Youth of the Peel Society, and project manager with Our Voices.

Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation declared a climate change state of emergency for lands, waters, animals and peoples in May 2019 and are on a path to carbon neutrality by 2030. As part of this, the award-winning Old Crow Solar Project will provide clean energy alternatives for Old Crow, reduce diesel dependence, and gain long-term energy security, revolutionizing community-designed and led projects and how Indigenous governments and power producers collaborate. 

Yury Vasiliev, Executive Director, Institute of Arctic Technologies, Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology
Over the past 16 years, Yury Vasiliev is part of the senior management of large Russian companies, led the project of creation of technopark in sphere of high technologies of the Republic of Mordovia. In 2010 - 2014 he headed the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Zelenograd, initiated and spearheaded the creation of innovative territorial cluster «Zelenograd», one of the 13 winners of the Ministry of Economic Development competition. Since 2017, Yury Vasiliev participated in the creation and then headed the Institute of Arctic Technologies and the Scientific and Technological Center for Autonomous Energy in the MIPT. 

Oskar Njaa, General Manager for International Affairs, The Bellona Foundation
Oskar is the head of the Russian Department in Oslo, and is responsible for project implementation and coordination of Bellona’s work across borders. Oskar has worked in Bellona since 2016 and has an MA from the University of Oslo in Russian area studies. Before he started in Bellona, he worked with the Norwegian environmental youth organization "Natur og Ungdom" as a coordinator for their Russia project, and has been a trainee with the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Moscow. During his studies, Oskar spent longer periods in Russia and he speaks Russian.

Guðmundur Haukur Sigurðarson, General Manager of Vistorka
Guðmundur Haukur Sigurðarson (B.Eng in Civil Engineering) is General manager of Vistorka ehf., a company based in Akureyri (Iceland).  Guðmundur has a long standing experience in the field of renewable energy, including being former Chairman of the board of Orkeyjar ehf. (biodiesel production).

Berit Kristoffersen, Associate Professor, UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Arctic Centre for Sustainable Energy
Associate Professor Berit Kristoffersen’s expertise is in climate, energy, and oil politics in the Arctic and the Lofoten-Barents Sea area in particular. Her leadership position at the UiT on a number of interdisciplinary, multi-organization projects around the politics of Arctic infrastructure, energy, and environmental security is rooted in experience and access to local research networks at the Arctic Centre for Sustainable Energy (ARC) and beyond. At the ARC, Berit leads the research in the Smart Senja project, and the associated research project RENEW.

Kristín Linda Árnadóttir, Chair of the Arctic Council’s Expert Group on Black Carbon and Methane
Kristín is the Chair of the Arctic Council’s Expert Group on Black Carbon and Methane (EGBCM) during the Icelandic Chairmanship in 2019-2021.  The main objective of the group is to assess and report on the progress of the implementation of the Artic Council’s Framework for Action on Black Carbon and Methane, and to inform policy makers from the Artic States and participating Arctic Council Observer states.  Kristín is the Deputy CEO at Landsvirkjun which is an Icelandic power company. Landsvirkjun produces 100% renewable energy from hydroelectric, geothermal and wind facilities, and is one of Europe’s largest renewable energy producer.

Jennifer Spence, Executive Secretary, Sustainable Development Working Group
Jennifer Spence is the Executive Secretary for the Arctic Council’s Sustainable Development Working Group. She holds a PhD in Public Policy with an interest in Arctic and international governance, institutional effectiveness and innovative policy processes. Jennifer is also an Adjunct Research Professor with Carleton University’s Northern Studies Program.  She lives in Ottawa, Canada with husband and two teenage daughters.

Devlin Fernandes, Executive Director, Gwich’in Council International

Jennifer Spence, Executive Secretary, Arctic Council Sustainable Development Working Group

Kristina Baer, Head of Communications, Arctic Council Secretariat

Federica Scarpa, Communications Manager, Icelandic Arctic Cooperation Network 

Malgorzata Smieszek, Project Coordinator, Arctic Resilience Accelerator, UiT The Arctic University of Norway

Daria Mishina, Analyst, Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology 

Simon Kalmykov, Energy Advisor, Bellona

Tiia Tanskanen, Adviser, Arctic Council Secretariat

Joel Clement, Senior Fellow, Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Learn more about the projects featured in this session and more energy projects led by the Arctic Council:

Old Crow Solar Energy Project (featured in session): Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation owns the 480 kilowatt solar array installed in Old Crow. The renewable energy system will displace the use of diesel to generate electricity in the off-grid community: 
o    Video: 
o    Video: 
o    Article on Old Crow Solar Energy Project: Integrating renewable energy sources in Canada’s North 
o    Vuntut Gwitchin Government project media release:

The Snowflake International Arctic Station (featured in session), a new Russian year-round research station will be fully powered by renewables: 

o    Arctic Council article: 
o    Video:

Following up the Arctic Resilience Forum and due to increasing interests to the IAS “Snowflake”, an open online meeting with AHEAD leaders and partners will be held on November 2, 2020. Registration is required. 

During the conference Yury Vasiliev, Executive Director of the Institute of Arctic Technologies, Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology and head of the AHEAD project and Oskar Njaa – General Manager for International Affairs the Bellona Foundation will open detailed information about the project, construction plans, current results and some changes. As well as this, they will answer all questions related to the AHEAD project – International Arctic Station “Snowflake”.

Institute of Arctic Technologies and leaders of the Snowflake project invite international scientists and engineers to join the open collaboration.

The open online meeting on November 2, 2020 with potential and current partners will help to add some changes during the design and modeling stages, as well as to develop required infrastructure for implementation of new ideas and solutions. 

Please send all your questions for the conference, suggestions and ideas for the Snowflake station to the
More information:

Smart Senja featured in session) is a large scale demo-project that kicked off in January 2020 and that is set to create a hybrid and smart energy system for coastal communities in Arctic Norway. In collaboration among local communities (including businesses and schools), the grid company Troms Kraft (project owner), Ishavskraft (power company), technology companies and UiT – the Arctic University of Norway, new energy solutions are co-created. Those solutions will form both the future energy system and provide local energy security: website and video 

The Arctic Remote Energy Networks Academy (ARENA) is a unique circumpolar knowledge sharing program about isolated power systems integration held in partnership with Canada, Gwich’in Council International, the U.S. and Iceland and endorsed by the Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG) of the Arctic Council.

o    Website:
o    Video: 

The Arctic Sustainable Energy Futures Toolkit is a print and web-based guide for communities to follow when developing and exercising community energy planning processes. This step-by-step toolkit will transfer knowledge using best practices, resource guides, case studies, videos, worksheets, and templated pathways to help communities create and implement their energy visions. 

Arctic Renewable Energy Atlas (AREA) is an online tool designed to enhance knowledge of the best practices and local adaptation actions on Arctic renewable energy and energy efficiency. The initial website, which was developed in Phase I (2015-2017), visualizes collected renewable energy supply and demand data.

The Community Appropriate Sustainable Energy Security (CASES) Partnership is an international research initiative involving 15 northern and Indigenous communities and public and private sector project partners from Canada, Alaska, Sweden, and Norway. (project factsheet attached)

The Indigenous Clean Energy (ICE) Social Enterprise is a pan-Canadian not-for-profit platform which advances Indigenous inclusion in Canada’s energy futures economy through Indigenous leadership, and broad-based collaboration with energy companies, utilities, governments, development firms, cleantech innovators, academic sector, and capital markets. 

 The Tundra Project, an initiative aimed at testing alternative clean and reliable energy solutions in a remote Arctic community in Murmansk region co-led by the United States and the Nordic Environment Finance Corporation (NEFCO) and endorsed by the Arctic Contaminants Action Program:

The Arctic Council Icelandic Chairmanship program: