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Indigenous clean energy projects get provincial boost

DCN-JOC News Services
Indigenous clean energy projects get provincial boost
PROVINCE OF B.C. — An aerial photograph shows the site of the Clarke Lake Geothermal Project. It is one of six projects that recently received assistance from First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund which seeks to advance clean energy projects in partnership with First Nations.

FORT NELSON, B.C. — A handful of Indigenous clean energy projects in B.C.’s north are getting a funding boost from the province.

The six projects are part of the province’s efforts to partner with Indigenous communities to work toward a low-carbon future. The funds come 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.

The FNCEBF provides Indigenous communities 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 plan to install 25 to 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.
  • 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.

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