A pioneering clean energy project that will harness ocean thermal energy to heat a new First Nations residential community will receive $400,000 from the B.C. government’s First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund.
The money will be used for an equity investment in a facility that will use the heat available, even in cold ocean water, to supply heat to the Sci'anew (Cheanuh) Beecher Bay Band’s development, a new town called Spirit Bay. Heat will be extracted from the ocean using heat exchangers and pumps and delivered to the development through a district heating system.
Initially, ocean thermal energy will be used to heat the first 50 homes in the community. As more homes are built, the system will be expanded. The system will be managed as a district heating utility providing service to the community.
The ocean thermal system will create additional revenues for current and future band members, while providing a reliable, low-maintenance heating source for the Spirit Bay residents. Government funding for the First Nations equity investment in the project follows the successful completion of a feasibility study earlier this year. The study evaluated designs, vendors, systems and best locations for the ocean thermal system.
Spirit Bay is a partnership between the Beecher Bay First Nation and the Trust for Sustainable Development, a Victoria-based company that specializes in building new towns. When fully built over the next 10 years, the Spirit Bay development is expected to have more than 600 mixed residential units and a town centre with offices, shops, and recreational facilities on 40.5 hectares (100 acres).
The First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund is designed to increase First Nations participation in the clean energy sector and helps to promote skills training, while creating jobs and new economic opportunities for First Nations throughout the province.https://www.facebook.com/BCJobsPlan/posts/10153177232518241
John Rustad, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation -
“Our goal is to promote greater First Nations participation in the growing clean energy sector. This project will provide a new source of clean, sustainable energy to heat homes in the Spirit Bay new town development, a project that will provide the First Nation with significant, long-term economic benefits.”
Chief Russ Chipps, Beecher Bay Band -
“Our people have relied on Beecher Bay for countless generations. It provided energy in the form of food, and now it will provide energy in the form of heat. These lands, which have also given us so much, will be home to a new community sustained by the bay which will guarantee a bright future for our children and those who have not yet been born. Spirit Bay is for the future, and it is only fitting that this bay, a symbol of our past, will be vital for a prosperous future.”
David Butterfield, co-founder, Trust for Sustainable Development -
“This ocean thermal project marks a milestone in the Spirit Bay development, as we lay the ground work to power an entire town with only natural, sustainable, and renewable energy. Beecher Bay isn't just the breathtaking waterfront view our residents will wake up to every morning, but the very source of power for everything throughout their daily lives at Spirit Bay.”
- The First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund provides equity funding of up to $500,000 and capacity development funding of up to $50,000 to support First Nations with feasibility studies or engagement with private sector proponents of clean-energy projects.
- Since 2011, more than 100 Aboriginal communities have benefited from more than $6.5 million in capacity and equity funding through the First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund.
- To date, $3.5 million has been approved for First Nations equity investments for eight clean energy projects through the First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund.
- B.C. has also entered into 36 clean energy revenue-sharing agreements with First Nations, including 10 new revenue-sharing agreements this spring.
- The fund supports First Nations participation in ocean and wind energy, biomass, run-of-river hydroelectric power, clean energy planning and related projects.
- The fund also allows First Nations with revenue-sharing agreements to receive a portion of water and land rents charged by the Province for new clean energy projects.
- The clean energy technology industry is one of the fastest growing industries in B.C., with more than 200 organizations, 68% of which were formed in the past decade.
Beecher Bay First Nation: www.beecherbaybc.com/
Trust for Sustainable Development: www.tsd.ca/
For more information on the First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund, visit: www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/topic.page?id=1178ADF080E24FDD931DA6FB88D67607
Ministry of Aboriginal Relations
Chief Russ Chipps
Beecher Bay Band
Head of Government Relations & Outreach
The Trust for Sustainable Development