HOT SPRINGS COVE, B.C. — Hesquiaht First Nations, located at Hot Springs Cove on Vancouver Island, is moving from diesel generators to hydropower.
Hot Springs Cove does not have access to the BC Hydro grid and a 350-kilowatt power plant on Ahtaapq Creek is estimated to replace 76 per cent of diesel usage and cut 627 tonnes of greenhouse-gas emissions per year.
The Province of British Columbia is supporting the transition with a $500,000 equity grant through the First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund.
The fund initially gave $50,000 for a feasibility study in 2013 and $100,000 for the project is from the BC Rural Dividend Fund. Remaining funds will be provided by Indigenous Services Canada.
“The First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund has been an effective tool for us to pursue this project. First, it provided money for a feasibility study, and now this equity investment has allowed us to secure the federal funding we need to make this project a reality,” Hesquiaht First Nations Chief Richard Lucas said in a statement.
Hesquiaht First Nations has partnered with the Barkley Project Group to build the power plant, with expected completion by March 2019.
Applications for the next First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund intake will be accepted until the end of January 2019.
Established in 2010, 40 B.C. First Nation communities have clean-energy revenue sharing agreements under the fund, which provides up to $500,000 in equity funding and $50,000 in capacity funding.