FORT NELSON, B.C. — Federal officials have announced Canada will spend $40.5 million to build an Indigenous owned and led geothermal project in B.C.
The Clarke Lake Geothermal Development Project will be one of the first commercially viable geothermal electricity production facilities in Canada.
“The Clarke Lake Geothermal Project represents Fort Nelson First Nation’s drive toward creating a sustainable economy for our people; one that strikes a balance between the environment and the economy. Our work to get this historic project off the ground demonstrates what Indigenous leadership toward net-zero project development looks like,” said Chief Sharleen Gale of the Fort Nelson First Nation in a statement.
The project is planned for the existing Clarke Lake gas field. The project will use the mid-grade geothermal heat resources in its reservoir to reduce emissions by displacing fossil fuels.
The government stated not only will the project create jobs and economic opportunity, it will offer capacity building and training to workers from other industries to help them transition into the renewable energy sector.
The primary revenue source of the project will be electricity production, but additional revenue opportunities could include the sale of waste heat generated by the plant. Excess heat from the facility could also power other activities in the local industries such as timber drying in the forestry sector and greenhouse food production in the agriculture sector.
The facility is expected to produce between seven and 15 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 14,000 households. By displacing fossil-fuel generation in northeast B.C., it is also expected to reduce 25,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year, equivalent to taking more than 5,000 cars off the road.