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Indigenous clean-energy projects funded in northern B.C.

FORT ST. JOHN – Six Indigenous communities in the North will join the clean-energy sector with local projects following support from the province.

The province is partnering with Indigenous communities throughout B.C. to work toward a low-carbon future by providing funding from the First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund (FNCEBF).

The fund helps develop clean-energy projects driven and owned by Indigenous communities in areas such as solar, ocean thermal, wind energy, biomass, run-of-river hydroelectric power, energy-efficiency planning and other clean energy-related areas. A key goal of the fund is to increase the participation of Indigenous communities in B.C.’s clean-energy sector.

The FNCEBF provides Indigenous communities with clean-energy support in the areas of studies and planning, equity funding and revenue sharing.

Clean-energy projects from the Saulteau First Nation and the Doig River First Nation each received $150,000 in equity funding toward solar expansion in their communities. The nations will install 25-35 small-scale residential solar photovoltaic systems on their reserve lands, prioritizing vulnerable and low-income community members, to advance energy self-sufficiency and reduce energy bills. Additional funding sources supporting this project include nation equity and rebates provided under the Greener Homes Grant Program. These projects will also include EnerGuide evaluations on community homes.

Four other Indigenous communities located in the North received funding in 2021:

  • Binche Keyoh Bu Society – $30,000 in capacity funding to develop a Binche Whut’en community energy plan, which will improve existing infrastructure, identify future development opportunities and guide the pursuit of renewable energy generation;
  • Clarke Lake Geothermal LP – $100,000 in equity funding for the Fort Nelson First Nation’s Tu Deh-Kah Geothermal project, which will repurpose the Clarke Lake gas field into one of Canada’s first commercially viable geothermal electricity and heat production facilities. This second round of funding covers a portion of the total cost of the sub-surface resource and surface facilities engineer design work;
  • Daylu Dena Council – $30,000 in capacity funding to develop a community energy plan, which will decrease energy costs and investigate options for renewable energy; and
  • Wet’suwet’en Nation – $149,950 in equity funding for community solar installation and related training.

The FNCEBF is also resetting its capacity funding limit to $50,000 for all Indigenous communities to access for clean-energy projects.

In 2021, the fund provided more than $3.8 million to support new capacity and equity projects in 27 Indigenous communities throughout the province. The FNCEBF is accepting applications for the next intake until Jan. 31, 2022.

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