The Homalco First Nation community is in Campbell River on Vancouver Island, but its vast traditional territory includes all of the lands surrounding Bute Inlet on the BC mainland including the termination of the mighty Homathko and Southgate River systems. Homalco is determined to increase its presence in these lands and has been successful in doing so at Orford Bay, where they run a successful wildlife tours business and operate year-round infrastructure. Other important locations in the inlet are Church House, the site of a historical Homalco Village that was abandoned in the 1970’s, and Homathko, the current site of a logging camp where the Nation has recently acquired one building in which to host members for cultural camps and other activities.
This project involved assessing the solar, wind, and hydropower resources at Orford, Homathko and Church House to inform ongoing and future infrastructure planning activities. Barkley Project Group also undertook electricity load modelling and forecasting for Orford to develop a clear picture of electricity supply and demand trends at this location.
The initial resource assessment project has led to two follow-up initiatives. The first is a geoscience assessment to understand the geothermal energy potential in Bute Inlet, which was requested by leadership based on traditional ecological knowledge of the location (namely the presence of steam rising from the ground in some nearby locations). The second project involves energy metering in Orford to collect primary electricity system data, as well as the development of an operations manual and maintenance report regarding the existing small hydropower system that powers Orford. All of this work is being undertaken by BPG.
This project has received support from the Province of BC and the New Relationship Trust.