Technical supply plants and sustainability

The overall technical supply in Qaasuitsup Municipality is handled by the Government of Greenland-owned company Nukissiorfiit, which produces and distributes water, power and heat to the majority of the inhabitants of the municipality. Nukissiorfiit operates through local energy services in Qasigiannguit, Ilulissat, Aasiaat/Kangaatsiaq, Qeqertarsuaq, Uummannaq, Upernavik and Qaanaaq.

Technical supply

In general, the supply structure varies greatly from town to town and settlement to settlement, partly because of local variations in resources and terrain conditions. See the main structure for a more detailed description of relevant, local conditions in the individual towns and settlements.

The power supply is based on hydro power or diesel-powered generators. The only existing hydro plant in the municipality is located in Paakitsoq, approximately 50 km northeast of Ilulissat, but new stations are projected near Kuussuup Tasia between Aasiaat and Qasigiannguit and on Disko Island (north of Qeqertarsuaq), see the section "Sustainability". See the main structure chart for existing and projected hydro plants in the municipality.

The heat supply in the towns and settlements of the municipality is generated from oil burners in the form of district heating, central heating or from individual oil burners.

The water supply varies from settlement to settlement according to the natural resources and the time of year. The majority of towns and settlements are supplied with surface water from local lakes of drinking water, which is distributed through a system of frost-resistant, pre-isolated pipelines, tank trucks and bottling houses. In other places, water is supplied from desalinated seawater or melted ice. The primary supply areas (lakes or lake systems) are protected zones, entailing limited use and possibilities for construction.

As is the case with the water supply, there are great local variations in waste management, particularly when it comes to collection and processing of night soil. All towns and settlements have a dump – typically located by the coast – where industrial and domestic waste is burned, deposited or sorted for reuse. In the larger towns, actual incineration plants dispose of combustible waste. In general, it seems that the dumps are placed in unsuitable areas when it comes to neighbouring activities, infrastructure and future urban and industrial development. Over time, new and more suitable locations are to be found for the purpose.

Wastewater handling and collection of night soil are being dealt with in different ways. In sewered areas, wastewater (black and grey) is discharged into the sea through a sewer system, whereas in areas with tank and collection of the so-called bag toilets/night soil, grey wastewater is discharged above ground, while black wastewater is discharged into the sea through night soil facilities or ramps. Surface water from roofs, roads and open spaces is diverted into the ground and ditches.

Furthermore, in 2013, Qaasuitsup Municipality prepared a new set of regulations for waste management of industrial and domestic waste as well as night soil. The new regulations aim to ensure efficient and environmentally friendly waste management and to prevent pollution and the creation of insanitary conditions. Moreover, it is the hope that the promotion and systemising of recycling will result in economic and sustainable benefits.

Telecommunications etc.

The quality and coverage of the telecommunications and internet supply are vital for the future strengthening of the dialogue and the IT infrastructure in the world's largest municipality. Due to the geographical distances between the towns and settlements, an effort is to be made to ensure access to good technical solutions as well as new democratic communication methods. The demand for improved communication is particularly critical in the settlements.

All Greenland telecommunication is handled by TELE Greenland A/S, which has telephone poles in most of the towns and settlements of the municipality that are connected to the central radio chain. The radio chain is connected to the rest of the world via a fibre-optic sea cable – Greenland Connect. A few towns and settlements are not connected to the radio chain, but are covered by satellite communication. Such satellite towns in Qaasuitsup Municipality include Upernavik and Qaanaaq. The latest addition is full 3G coverage in all the towns of the municipality.

Finally, TELE Greenland provides coastal radio services to safeguard navigation in the Greenland waters. The coastal radio is situated in Aasiaat.

Risk facilities

All towns and settlements have one or more risk facilities, e.g. tank farms, explosives stores or the like. All risk facilities have regulated zones/safety distances to regulate utilisation, including construction, inside the zone.

The regulated zones are of vital significance, not just for their surroundings and the neighbouring activities, but also for the development possibilities of the town or the settlement. Thus, any establishment of new risk facilities as well as relocation of existing facilities are to consider the surroundings and the future urban development.


Now more than ever, focus is on encouraging green and sustainable solutions – to the benefit of the environment, nature and economy. In particular, focus has been on the various possibilities of producing renewable energy.

It seems that hydro power has the greatest potential, and in the late summer of 2013, Greenland's fifth hydro plant was inaugurated in Paakitsoq in Qaasuitsup Municipality. The plant is situated around 50 km northeast of Ilulissat and replaces an annual oil consumption of nine million litres, corresponding to 23.4 tonnes of carbon dioxide. In addition, two more hydro plants are included in the town plan – one on Disko Island and another at Kuussuup Tasia.

Other potentials for renewable energy are, e.g., thermic heat and building of solar cell or solar heating plants and windmills. Thus, the town plan opens up for the possibility of integrating facilities for solar energy in connection with renovation and new building. However, area allotments for wind and solar farms are still under consideration.

Finally, other potentials include low-energy buildings – focusing being on materials, insulation, sun orientation etc. as well as infrastructure and waste management – and sustainable urban development where considerations on climate adaptation, densification and infrastructure are key factors. The development of sustainable transport solutions is first and foremost dependent on an improved and extended system of paths in and around the towns. The waste management efforts are described in the section "Technical supply".

Qaasuitsup Kommunia · Postboks 1023 · 3952 Ilulissat · Grønland · · E-mail: · Tlf.: +299 947800
Last edited 28-1-2014