The remote Kwadacha First Nations community in Fort Ware, 570 kilometres north of Prince George, is taking steps to transition from diesel to clean electricity generation and create local jobs under the Province’s CleanBC plan.
The Province’s Renewable Energy for Remote Communities (RERC) program is providing $486,000 towards a $496,000 100-kilowatt (kW) solar panel installation at the community school in Fort Ware. The installation will help the community meet its electricity demand, reduce air pollution and improve environmental outcomes. The community and its students can also compare school energy consumption with electricity generation.
“Our CleanBC goal is to reduce diesel consumption for power generation in remote communities by 80% by 2030,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources. “By building partnerships and creating opportunities with Indigenous communities and businesses, we can help remote communities get off diesel and benefit from more efficient, healthier and cleaner fuel sources.”
In total, three remote First Nations communities in B.C. will receive $1.8 million in financial support to transition from diesel to cleaner energy sources. The Lhoosk’uz Dené, Hesquiaht and Kwadacha First Nations are second-round funding recipients under the RERC program.
“I’m excited about this opportunity," said Darryl McCook, Chief, Kwadacha First Nation. “This project fits perfectly with Kwadacha’s vision of becoming energy self-sufficient in a green and sustainable way. Renewable energy is the way of the future. This project allows Kwadacha for the first time to see and use this technology. Having this project tied to the school will give the children of Kwadacha a better understanding of solar power and its possible uses in the future.”
The RERC program supports remote communities in B.C. that are not connected to the province’s electrical grid and rely on diesel power generation stations. It complements other initiatives that assist remote communities in energy planning, energy efficiency improvements and energy systems decarbonization. By investing in renewable energy in diesel-dependent communities, 70% of which are Indigenous, RERC also promotes economic recovery and furthers the Province’s reconciliation commitments with Indigenous peoples.
As part of the CleanBC Remote Community Energy Strategy, government launched the RERC program in 2019 to contribute up to $16.5 million toward the capital costs of construction-ready projects. In March 2020, the program awarded $13.8 million to four projects and reserved $2.5 million for a second intake to be administered by the Fraser Basin Council.
George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy –
“We’re working in partnership with Indigenous peoples to support clean energy to reduce pollution in remote communities and address climate change. By following the leadership of Kwadacha First Nation, we’re investing in a cleaner, better future for students at the local community school through new solar energy.”
Murray Rankin, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation –
“We’re supporting Indigenous governments in remote communities who are developing energy projects that lessen their reliability on diesel to heat and power homes and buildings. Cleaner air, more economic opportunities and greater self-sufficiency are exactly what the Renewable Energy for Remote Communities program helps deliver.”
Nathan Cullen, MLA for Stikine –
“For far too long, remote indigenous communities have had to rely on direct diesel power just to meet their basic needs for energy. We are working with the good people of Kwadacha to transition to clean renewable power.”
David Marshall, chief executive officer, Fraser Basin Council –
“Lhoosk’uz Dené, Kwadacha and Hesquiaht First Nations are moving forward with impressive new bioenergy and solar projects. They are showing how small communities can take big steps for sustainability and self-reliance by transitioning to energy sources that are cleaner and more reliable. It takes a strong vision to step into a new technology, especially in a remote location. By turning the vision into reality, they are proving practical energy solutions do exist – and that’s encouraging for other small communities planning a change.”
- The Lhoosk’uz Dené Nation is receiving a $875,000 provincial contribution to a $2.2-million 40 kW biomass combined heat and power project in Klusklus, displacing 346 tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) per year.
- The Hesquiaht First Nation is receiving a $419,000 provincial contribution to a $682,000 136 kW solar energy system installation on community school property in Hot Springs Cove, displacing 93 tonnes CO2e per year.
- The Kwadacha Nation is receiving a $486,000 provincial contribution to a $496,000 100 kW solar energy system installation on community school property in Fort Ware, displacing 87 tonnes CO2e per year.
- In total, these three projects will avoid 890 tonnes CO2e per year in B.C.
Fraser Basin Council: www.fraserbasin.bc.ca
Renewable Energy for Remote Communities: www.gov.bc.ca/renewable-energy-remote-communities