The Province is using its First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund to provide more than $500,000 for five clean-energy projects on the central coast and north Vancouver Island that will explore alternative clean-energy sources and help remote Aboriginal communities reduce their reliance on diesel power generation.
The largest project is a 350-kilowatt run-of-river hydroelectricity facility in the Wuikinuxv Nation traditional territory on B.C’s central coast. The clean-energy fund will provide the First Nation with $150,000 in diesel-displacement funding and $250,000 in equity funding. The hydro project is expected to replace 92% of electricity produced in the community by diesel generators.
The proposed Nicknaqueet River Hydropower Project is a hydro-diesel hybrid that will be constructed on the Nicknaqueet River, 2.3 kilometres southwest of the Wuikinuxv Village at Rivers Inlet.
The Wuikinuxv community has been struggling with diesel costs, emissions and noise from generators. Other environmental concerns include transporting and storing the fuel.
Other projects in the north Island and south coast region include:
- $75,000 in equity funding for the Tlowitsis Nation, near Campbell River, to purchase equity shares in the Newcastle Creek hydro project. This is a 4.3-megawatt, run-of-river hydroelectricity power project. It is located within the Tlowitsis traditional territory and will provide renewable carbon-free energy with an estimated annual power generation of 13,300 megawatt-hours. The project will be owned by the Tlowitsis Nation and Synex Energy Resources Ltd.
- $18,000 in capacity funding for the Quatsino First Nation, near Port Hardy, to do an environmental-impact study on a proposed five-megawatt run-of-river project. The capacity funding will support an environmental-impact study that includes aquatic and terrestrial ecosystem effects. The work will be completed by a crew of biologists led by Environmental Dynamics Inc. and a Quatsino field support crew.
- $47,220 in capacity funding for the Tlatlasikwala First Nation on north Vancouver Island and the south coast to complete a solar-panel feasibility study to determine renewable clean-energy options to replace two diesel-powered generators in Bull Harbour. Funding will support an assessment of the possibility of adding renewable power generation to the system in order to reduce diesel consumption costs, increase the efficiency of producing electricity and reduce greenhouse-gas emissions within the community.
- $20,000 in capacity funding for the Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis First Nation on Gilford Island to fund community engagement on clean-energy literacy and an assessment of a potential battery storage/solar project in the community. Improved battery storage will help normalize energy use and allow the existing diesel generators to operate more efficiently. This size of storage should also be able to accommodate wind and solar renewable energy sources as the project is developed.
The Wuikinuxv, Tlatlasikwala, and Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis First Nations’ projects are all supported in part through the Diesel Displacement Fund, part of the First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund, which will provide approximately $700,000 a year during the next three years to remote First Nations. The diesel-displacement funding is contingent on matched federal funding and is specifically aimed at supporting remote First Nations communities in reducing diesel use.
John Rustad, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation –
“The First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund has provided more than $8 million to B.C. First Nations that want to find cleaner ways of generating power. This renewed commitment to target remote communities and reduce their reliance on diesel generators will not only reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, it makes the communities more self-reliant.”
Bill Bennett, Minister of Energy and Mines –
“Creating partnerships between industry and First Nations is an important part of the Province’s planning in natural-resource sectors. Supporting these communities to make them more energy efficient and generate power on their own are critical parts of developing economic opportunities and improving quality of life in the more remote areas of B.C.”
Chief Rose Hanuse Hackett, Wuikinuxv Nation –
“Our community wants to end its reliance on costly, polluting diesel generators for our electricity. In partnership with the Province, this project is a positive step toward our shared goal of reducing greenhouse-gas emissions and creating affordable self-sufficiency for our Nation.”
- Funding into the First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund has increased from $4.2 million in 2016, to $7.2 million for 2017, as more clean-energy power projects have reached commercial operation.
- The fund provides equity funding to First Nations: up to $500,000 for clean-energy projects; up to $150,000 in equity funding toward energy-efficiency projects (also known as demand-side management); and capacity funding up to $50,000.
- Capacity funding supports feasibility studies for developing clean-energy projects or engagement with private-sector clean-energy project proponents.
- Since 2011, more than 110 First Nations communities have benefited from approximately $8 million in capacity and equity funding.
- Funding has supported the development of First Nations clean-energy projects in areas such as ocean thermal, wind energy, biomass, run-of-river hydroelectric power, clean-energy planning, and other clean-energy-related areas.
- The fund also provides revenue-sharing agreements with First Nations for a portion of water and land rents charged by the Province for new clean-energy projects.
- If an eligible clean-energy project site is on a traditional territory, First Nations may be eligible for a revenue-sharing agreement.
- Thirty-four B.C. First Nations communities benefit from clean-energy revenue-sharing agreements under the First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund.
- In March 2017, the B.C. government released the Rural Economic Development Strategy, which includes an ongoing commitment to partner with Aboriginal communities to ensure full access to development and growth opportunities.
Wuikinuxv Nation: wuikinuxv.net
Tlowitsis Nation: tlowitsisnation.ca/
Quatsino First Nation: www.quatsinofn.com
Tlatlasikwala First Nation: www.tlatlasikwala.com
Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis First Nation: www.khfn.ca
First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund: http://ow.ly/JPz530apMVd
Community Energy Leadership Program: www.gov.bc.ca/communityenergyleadershipprogram
Clean Energy B.C.: www.cleanenergybc.org/