Sarita River Hydro

Contributing to the resilience of the local power grid through an islanding capability supporting the Huu-ay-aht community during outages.

Project Type: Hydro
Capacity: 5.2 MW
Owned By: Huu-ay-aht First Nations
Status: Pre-construction
Project Start Date: 2011
Expected Project Completion Date: 2025

Sarita River Hydro is a 100% Huu-ay-aht First Nation-owned commercial hydropower development located on Huu-ay-aht lands near Bamfield on Vancouver Island. The project is notable for its proposed contribution to the resilience of the local power grid through an islanding capability whereby the power produced can support local power needs in Bamfield and the Huu-ay-aht community during grid outages.

Electricity service interruptions are more frequent in the winter months, and repairs can take weeks. Longer duration outages in Bamfield result in a variety of impacts including decreased food security due to food spoilage, particularly fish, which is of great importance to the Huu-ay-aht people.

The project is poised to become one of the first grid-tied projects in BC with an islanding capability. It will demonstrate how electricity infrastructure resilience can be improved in end-of-line communities that are otherwise vulnerable to transmission line interruptions.

Barkley Project Group has worked with Huu-ay-aht to advance the project through environmental assessment, permitting, design and engineering. Final pre-construction planning and financing activities are currently underway.

This project is being considered for EcoLogo Certification due to the fact that it has a minimal footprint and the diversion reach is free of fish.

This project has received support from the Nuu-Chah-Nulth Economic Development Corporation, the New Relationship Trust, the Province of BC, Indigenous Services Canada and Natural Resources Canada.