First Nation receives $500k grant for geothermal project at Fort Nelson, BC, Canada
The Fort Nelson First Nation in British Columbia, Canada has been awarded CAD500,000 in funding for the continued development of a planned geothermal project.
Two northeast First Nations communities are receiving $1 million for clean energy projects as part of a funding partnership between the Province of British Columbia, Government of Canada and New Relationship Trust, according to a press release by the government of British Columbia.
“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,” said Bruce Ralston, B.C.’s Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources. “Together, we are providing important funding to Indigenous communities throughout B.C. to develop projects that will help them achieve energy independence, support economic development and reduce reliance on diesel.”
The Fort Nelson First Nation in Fort Nelson is receiving C$500,000 (around USD 380,000) for feasibility and engineering for a geothermal energy generation plant, and the Saulteau First Nation (Treaty 8) in Chetwynd is receiving $500,000 for a wind generation project.
The study will be exploring the feasibility of a geothermal project in the old Clark Lake gas field. The exploration rights were granted to the First Nation earlier in 2020.
Funding from the BCICEI supports the planning of clean energy generation projects, such as hydro, wind, biomass, solar, marine and geothermal projects. The BCICEI also targets energy efficiency projects and energy storage. Among its target communities, it specifically seeks to assist remote communities wherever possible in reducing dependency on fossil fuels.
Funding to communities through the BCICEI will be used for feasibility and site selection, environmental review and permitting, and project design and engineering. This allows First Nations’ clean energy and energy efficiency projects to proceed to the next step of implementation and construction when additional funding is secured.
The funding is important to “indigenous communities to develop projects that help them achieve energy independence support economic development and reduce reliance on diesel,” so Energy Minister Bruce Ralston in a statement.
At the moment, Fort Nelson mostly depends on gas generated electricity. The Clarke Lake field was identified as a potential site for a geothermal plant. A report by Geoscience BC assessed a potential 15 MW geothermal project at two potential sites in the field, and in January the First Nation was granted resource rights to 25 parcels of land covering 6,800 hectares.
The field is 14 kilometres southeast of Fort Nelson, and has had more than 100 natural gas wells drilled into it. The Fort Nelson First Nation also received $1 million last year from Natural Resources Canada to assess the field’s potential.