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Six central B.C. First Nations receive financial support for clean energy projects

Funding a result of partnership between B.C., Canada and New Relationship Trust
Located just over 170 kilometres west of Quesnel, the Lhoosk’uz Dene Nation is receiving $300,000 for a combined heat and biomass project. (Lhoosk’uz Dene Nation/Facebook photo)

Half a dozen First Nation communities in central B.C. are receiving funding for clean energy projects through the British Columbia Indigenous Clean Energy Initiative (BCICEI).

Among the projects receiving funding from the announcement on Aug. 17 totaling $1.15 million is a $300,000 heat and power biomass project at Kluskus Lake by the Lhoosk’uz Dene Nation.

The Dease River First Nation at Good Hope Lake is receiving $50,000 for a biomass feasibility study, and the Tlingit Homeland Energy Ltd. Partnership in Atlin is receiving $250,000 for a hydro energy generation upgrade project.

The Lower Nicola Indian Band in Merritt and Tobacco Plains Indian Band in Grasmere are each receiving $150,000 for a solar photovoltaic installation.

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After successfully being approved this June for a $1.86 million grant through B.C’s Renewable Energy for Remote Communities program, the Xeni Gwet’in First Nations Government in Nemiah Valley west of Williams Lake is receiving $250,000 for a solar micro-grid connection project.

B.C. Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Bruce Ralston said together, they are providing important funding to Indigenous communities throughout the province to develop projects that will help them achieve energy independence, support economic development and reduce reliance on diesel.

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“Through CleanBC, we are collaborating with New Relationship Trust and Western Economic Diversification Canada on the British Columbia Indigenous Clean Energy Initiative (BCICEI) to support First Nations-led clean energy and energy efficiency projects,” Ralson said in a news release.

Launched in 2016, the BCICEI has invested more than $3.5 million to fund 31 projects which have leveraged more than $37.2 million including $11.7 to Indigenous equity to finance hydro, solar, geothermal, bio-energy and innovative demand side management projects throughout B.C.

A total of 13 communities throughtout the province are receiving almost $2.8 million from the BCICEI this year.

In the northeast $1 million will be shared between the Fort Nelson Nation for a geothermal energy generation plant, and the Saulteau First Nation for a wind generation project in Chetwynd.

In North Vancouver, meanwhile, the Tsleil-Waututh Nation is receiving $150,000 for a solar photovoltaic installation.

On B.C’s coast, the Metlakatla First Nation in Prince Rupert is receiving $39,000 for a feasibility study on an electric and/or hydrogen ferry, and the Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation in Gold River is getting $150,000 for solar photovoltaic installation.

The Heiltsuk Tribal Council in Bella Bella ($150,000) and the Quatsino First Nation in Coal Harbour ($147,000) are both receiving financial support for heat pump installation.

“Not only do these projects contributed to creating economic opportunities in First Nations communities but they are helping to fight climate change and move Canada towards a cleaner and greener future,” said federal Minister of Indigenous Services, Marc Miller.

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