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More First Nation communities to advance clean-energy projects in B.C.

Press Release

Dec. 17, 2021

VICTORIA – Ten First Nations throughout the province will receive funding to develop alternative energy projects and advance energy efficiency in their communities through the British Columbia Indigenous Clean Energy Initiative (BCICEI), with provincial support through CleanBC.

“Together with New Relationship Trust and Pacific Economic Development Canada, we are providing critical funding to 10 Indigenous communities across B.C. to develop projects that will help them achieve energy independence, support economic development and reduce reliance on diesel,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation. “We know the importance of building partnerships and creating opportunities with Indigenous communities and businesses in our efforts to decarbonize community energy systems.”

These energy projects range in size and scope, from assisting the Penelakut Tribe install a solar photovoltaic system at the community school to equipping the Northern Haida Gwaii Hospital and Health Centre with a biomass system to supply hot water heating.

“Through the CleanBC Roadmap to 2030, our government is working to build a cleaner, better future together with Indigenous Peoples,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “By investing in clean energy in remote Indigenous communities, we’re helping replace diesel power, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase energy independence for First Nations.”

In total, 10 communities are receiving nearly $3 million from the BCICEI, which is funded through a clean-energy funding partnership between the Province of British Columbia, Government of Canada and New Relationship Trust.

Funding from the BCICEI supports the planning and development of clean-energy generation projects, such as run of river, wind, biomass, solar, marine and geothermal. The BCICEI also targets energy-efficiency projects and energy storage, and seeks to assist remote communities wherever possible in reducing dependency on fossil fuels, including diesel generators.

CleanBC is a pathway to a more prosperous, balanced and sustainable future. It supports government’s commitment to climate action to meet B.C.’s emission targets and build a cleaner, stronger economy.

Quotes:

Murray Rankin, B.C.’s Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation –

“Developing clean-energy sources that suit the needs of individual communities is a fundamental part of First Nations’ ability to take control of their own community infrastructure, contribute to a greener economy and create employment opportunities for their members. A sustainable energy future is a goal we share with First Nations and everyone in B.C., and projects like BCICEI play a valuable role in bringing that future into the present.”

Harjit S. Sajjan, federal Minister of International Development and Minister for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada (PacifiCan) –

“The B.C. Indigenous Clean Energy Initiative shows that by working with Indigenous partners, we can support important economic and sustainable living opportunities across British Columbia. PacifiCan is working together with the Province of British Columbia and New Relationship Trust through this unique funding partnership to drive innovation in the clean-energy space, create well-paying jobs and build a greener future for all Canadians.”

Walter Schneider, chief executive officer, New Relationship Trust –

“New Relationship Trust is committed to being an important catalyst in supporting First Nations to advance and accelerate the pace of transformation towards clean energy generation and efficiency in urban and remote Indigenous communities across B.C. We are excited to see the Nations using the B.C. Indigenous Clean Energy Initiative to be part of the global solution to reduce GHG emissions and build more resilient and sustainable communities.”

Quick Facts:

  • The BCICEI has funded 67 projects totalling almost $12 million, including the 2021 intake. Prior to the most recent intake, the program had supported 57 projects with nearly $9 million, many of which are in remote, off-grid or diesel-dependent communities.
  • These investments have leveraged more than $37.2 million in Indigenous and partner funding to finance hydro, solar, geothermal, biomass, wind and demand-side management projects throughout British Columbia.
  • Launched in 2016 and renewed in 2019, the BCICEI is a unique partnership between Pacific Economic Development Canada, the Province of British Columbia and New Relationship Trust.
    • Through Indigenous Services Canada’s Strategic Partnership Initiative, the Government of Canada invested $4.5 million in renewed funding over three years toward the BCICEI, in addition to the original $4.2 million investment.
    • Since the renewal, the Province of British Columbia has committed $5 million through the CleanBC Plan toward the BCICEI over the same period.

Learn More:

Read more about the work of New Relationship Trust: https://www.newrelationshiptrust.ca/news/

For a list of funding opportunities for clean-energy projects led by Indigenous Nations and local governments, visit:
https://communityclimatefunding.gov.bc.ca/

Find out more about CleanBC: https://cleanbc.gov.bc.ca/

Find out more about PacifiCan: https://pacifican.gc.ca/

A backgrounder follows listing all the BCICEI projects funded in 2021.

Contacts:

Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation
Media Relations
952-0622

PacifiCan
Media Relations
[email protected]
604 379-9626


BACKGROUNDER

Project list for B.C. Indigenous Clean Energy Initiative, 2021

Pre-construction, pre-commercial operating date (four projects)

  • Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis First Nation – $423,992 toward a 220 kilowatt-hour (kWh) solar photovoltaic system on 18 homes and buildings in the community, along with one central battery energy storage system (530kWh)
  • Skidegate Band Council – $500,000 in funding toward the 2 megawatt (MW) T11 Yahda Energy Solar Farm with battery storage
  • Old Massett Village Council – $500,000 toward a 320 kilowatt (kW) biomass Viessman Vitoflex system to supply hot water heating and domestic hot water to the Northern Haida Gwaii Hospital and Health Centre
  • Upper Nicola Band and Okanagan Nation Alliance – $500,000 toward a 15 MW utility scale solar project near the BC Hydro Nicola substation. This project was developed based on an agreement with BC Hydro as part of its Interior-to-Lower Mainland Transmission line through Upper Nicola Band and Okanagan Nation Alliance territories

Feasibility, site selection, environmental review, permitting, project design and engineering (two projects)

  • Uchucklesaht Tribe Government – $299,975 toward a hydropower facility at Uchuck Creek to provide the village of Ehthlateese with clean energy, which is diesel dependent and has reached the limit of the current 219 kW diesel gensets
  • Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k:tles7et’h’ First Nations – $112,500 toward the replacement of the existing above-ground power lines and infrastructure with an underground distribution line throughout the community of the Houpsitas

Small-scale installation, non-utility scale, demand side management (four projects)

  • Takla Lake Limited Partnership – $44,634 toward a load forecast to assess future energy needs, detailed civic lighting assessments and training workshops on energy efficiency
  • Penelakut Tribe – $70,550 toward installing a 60 kW solar photovoltaic system, plus 27 kW of battery storage (Tesla Powerwall, two 13.5 kW units) at the community school
  • West Moberly First Nation – $200,000 toward the integration of 5 kW solar photovoltaic systems onto 48 residential homes
  • Whispering Pines/Clinton Indian Band – $200,000 toward three solar photovoltaic installations at:
    • the band office (25 kW);
    • the community water treatment plant and pumphouse (29 kW); and
    • the Walipini Greenhouse that is being constructed (10 kW).

Contacts:

Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation
Media Relations
250 952-0622

PacifiCan
Media Relations
[email protected]
604 379-9626

Connect with the Province of B.C. at: news.gov.bc.ca/connect

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