B.C. adds to First Nations clean energy fund

B.C. Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation
February 07, 2017
Written by B.C. Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation
Feb. 7, 2017 - The B.C. government is increasing funding for First Nations clean-energy projects by approximately $2.1 million over three years.

The funding will be prioritized to help remote Aboriginal communities not connected to the BC Hydro grid to end their reliance on diesel-powered generators. Funding approved for remote communities will be contingent on matching federal funding.

It is part of the Province’s legislated target to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and create a clean-energy supply.

The new funding will be administered under the First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund, which helps Aboriginal communities identify clean-energy solutions and jumpstart construction of viable projects.

The clean-energy fund, in existence since 2010, has helped remote and other B.C. First Nations reduce their reliance on fossil fuels. Kwadacha Nation is an excellent example that demonstrates the success of the fund.

Kwadacha Nation is a remote Fort Ware community 570 kilometres north of Prince George. The community was awarded $400,000 in equity funding under the business fund. The funding provided support towards a combined heat-and-power bioenergy system intended to offset diesel generation.

Heat generated by the system will be used for a district energy system, while electricity generated will be sold to BC Hydro under a 20-year Electricity Purchase Agreement. Kwadacha Nation has also received $150,000 toward the project from the Province’s Community Energy Leadership Program.

“The First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund was instrumental in kick-starting the Kwadacha Nation’s Biomass Community Energy System and helping us move away from diesel generation for heat and power," Kwadacha Nation Chief Donny Van Somer said in a news release. "We ran off diesel for too long and this project brings some much-needed infrastructure to our very remote community. It also created a few much-needed jobs and is a step closer to our vision of self-sustainability.”

Since the fund was introduced in 2010, more than 110 First Nations communities have benefited from nearly $8.2 million in capacity and equity funding. Funding has supported the development of First Nations clean-energy projects in areas such as geoexchange, wind energy, biomass, run-of-river hydroelectric power, clean-energy planning and other clean-energy-related areas.

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 revenue-sharing agreements.

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