Tsilhquot’in National Government building largest First Nations solar farm
BC, News, Politics
Wednesday March 13, 2019
The Tsilhqot’in National Government (TNG) is moving ahead with the redevelopment of an industrial site into a solar farm, supported by a $300,000 equity investment from the Province.
Funding is provided through B.C.’s First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund (FNCEBF), which supports Indigenous communities in their efforts to pursue clean-energy projects. The FNCEBF supports CleanBC, the Province’s plan to build a cleaner future that creates opportunities for all British Columbians, while protecting B.C.’s clean air, land and water.
TNG is developing a 1.25-megawatt-peak-solar photovoltaic project on a former sawmill site. When complete, it will be the first and largest solar farm fully built, owned and operated by a First Nation in B.C.
Construction started in October 2018 and is expected to be complete by summer 2019.
The 2018 First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund also provided funds to six other First Nations to prioritize clean-energy equity projects in their communities. A total of $1.94 million in additional funding was granted to:
- Dzawada’enuxw First Nation – $500,000 to create a hydropower project to reduce its reliance on diesel power generation;
- Ehattesaht First Nation – $500,000 to purchase equity in a run-of-river hydroelectricity plant, enabling the Nation to purchase additional units and reduce debt;
- West Moberly Frist Nation – $150,000 to help fund a biomass conversion project to heat the Twin Sister Native Plants Nursery;
- Westbank First Nation – $150,000 to build a rooftop solar farm to demonstrate the viability of clean energy;
- Homalco First Nation – $140,000 to implement a community energy plan that will introduce efficiency upgrades to homes and community buildings; and
The FNCEBF also provided a combined $250,000 in funding to seven B.C. First Nations to support clean-energy strategy and planning.
Applications for the next First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund intake will be accepted until the end of May 2019.
Chief Joe Alphonse, Tsilhquot’in? National Government Tribal Chairman –
“Since having our Aboriginal title recognized, we have been looking for diverse opportunities within our territory. The development and operation of this solar farm is not only useful for the area, but also brings employment and training to our Nation. As a Nation, we have always said that to do business with us, you need to come through our doors and sit at the table in a meaningful way. The solar farm is a great example of that.”
Scott Fraser, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation –
“First Nations are moving forward with greener alternatives, such as solar, in meeting their energy needs. This work is an important part of our CleanBC strategy and supports self-determination. All of us, in every area of the province, have an important part to play in putting B.C. on a path that powers our future with clean, renewable energy and reduces air pollution.”
George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy –
“Whether solar, wind or other clean-energy sources, the replacement of diesel generation with clean energy through these projects will help us use less fossil fuels while generating new economic activity, new jobs and building our clean economy. It’s important that the opportunities of our CleanBC plan are accessible to all British Columbians. That’s how rural and Indigenous communities can share in a more prosperous, balanced and sustainable future.”
Michelle Mungall, Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources –
“The First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund helps to bring ideas, vision and innovation to reality to meet CleanBC goals. By transitioning to cleaner electricity options, Indigenous communities can become more energy efficient, while creating local jobs and economic opportunities.”
- The First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund budget for 2019-20 is approximately $7.74 million.
- Since 2010, more than 110 First Nations have benefited from more than $10 million in capacity and equity funding.
- The B.C. First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund provides equity funding to First Nations up to $500,000 for clean-energy projects, up to $150,000 in equity funding toward community energy projects (energy efficiency, demand-side management and small fuel-switching projects) and capacity funding up to $50,000.
- Capacity funding supports community energy planning, feasibility studies for developing clean-energy projects or engagement with private-sector clean-energy project proponents.
Provincewide news release and backgrounder information: http://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2019IRR0004-000382
Tsilhqot’in National Government: http://www.tsilhqotin.ca/
First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund: http://ow.ly/JPz530apMVd