Winchie Creek Hydro is the third Run of River Hydro project added to Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation’s Economic Development portfolio. This 4.1 MW facility is fully owned and operated by the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation, making it the first 100% indigenous-owned hydropower project developed on Vancouver Island.
Power is generated by a five-jet vertical Pelton turbine and is sold to BC Hydro via a long-term power purchase agreement. As with TFN’s other hydropower projects, Winchie Creek Hydro is EcoLogo certified. It has a minimal footprint and the diversion reach is naturally free of fish.
Winchie Creek Hydro project has the added benefit of providing access to a TFN reserve land area that was previously inaccessible. In the Nuu-chah-nulth language, Winchie means “where the fish go”, which is aptly named as this was historically a highly populated salmon habitat.
Protecting salmon populations while developing economically valuable projects in TFN territory is key to all TFN’s energy sector initiatives. According to Francis Frank, Tla-o-qui-aht Chief Councilor at the time of construction, “This green energy project within our Hawiihs’ hahoulthee (traditional territory) fits well within our Economic Development business plan and contributes to our goal of diversifying our economy. Building a balanced and diversified economy is vital to the success of moving forward toward our goal of being a self-sustaining Nation.”
This project has received support from the Nuu-Chah-Nulth Economic Development Corporation, the New Relationship Trust, the Government of Canada, the Province of BC, and BC Hydro.