The Province’s Renewable Energy for Remote Communities (RERC) program is supporting Hesquiaht First Nation’s transition from diesel to clean electricity generation. RERC is providing $419,000 toward a $682,000 136-kilowatt (kW) solar panel installation at the community school, creating local jobs and reducing air pollution. Located north of Tofino, the isolated village relies 100% on diesel fuel shipped in by barge.
“Our CleanBC goal is to reduce diesel consumption for power generation in remote communities by 80% by 2030,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources. “By building partnerships and creating opportunities with Indigenous communities and businesses, we can help remote communities get off diesel and benefit from more efficient, healthier and cleaner fuel sources.”
In total, three remote First Nations communities in B.C. will receive $1.8 million in financial support to transition from diesel to cleaner energy sources. The Lhoosk’uz Dené, Hesquiaht and Kwadacha First Nations are second-round funding recipients under the RERC program.
The RERC program supports remote communities in B.C. that are not connected to the province’s electrical grid and rely on diesel power generation stations. It complements other initiatives that assist remote communities in energy planning, energy efficiency improvements and energy systems decarbonization. By investing in renewable energy in diesel-dependent communities, 70% of which are Indigenous, RERC also promotes economic recovery and furthers the Province’s reconciliation commitments with Indigenous peoples.
As part of the CleanBC Remote Community Energy Strategy, government launched the RERC program in 2019 to contribute up to $16.5 million toward the capital costs of construction-ready projects. In March 2020, the program awarded $13.8 million to four projects and reserved $2.5 million for a second intake to be administered by the Fraser Basin Council.
George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy –
“We’re working in partnership with Indigenous peoples to support clean energy to reduce pollution in remote communities and address climate change. This investment in solar energy for Hesquiaht First Nation will improve local air quality and help build a better future for students and people at Hot Springs Cove.”
Murray Rankin, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation –
“We’re supporting Indigenous governments in remote communities who are developing energy projects that lessen their reliability on diesel to heat and power homes and buildings. Cleaner air, more economic opportunities and greater self-sufficiency are exactly what the Renewable Energy for Remote Communities program helps deliver.”
Joshua Charleson, Hesquiaht Chief Councillor –
“This announcement is part of our long journey towards sustainable energy production, which is key to preserving our rich biodiversity, clean air and pristine waters.”
David Marshall, chief executive officer, Fraser Basin Council –
“Lhoosk’uz Dené, Kwadacha and Hesquiaht First Nations are moving forward with impressive new bioenergy and solar projects. They are showing how small communities can take big steps for sustainability and self-reliance by transitioning to energy sources that are cleaner and more reliable. It takes a strong vision to step into a new technology, especially in a remote location. By turning the vision into reality, they are proving practical energy solutions do exist – and that’s encouraging for other small communities planning a change.”
- The Lhoosk’uz Dené Nation is receiving a $875,000 provincial contribution to a $2.2-million 40 kW biomass combined heat and power project in Klusklus, displacing 346 tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) per year.
- The Hesquiaht First Nation is receiving a $419,000 provincial contribution to a $682,000 136 kW solar energy system installation on community school property in Hot Springs Cove, displacing 93 tonnes CO2e per year.
- The Kwadacha Nation is receiving a $486,000 provincial contribution to a $496,000 100 kW solar energy system installation on community school property in Fort Ware, displacing 87 tonnes CO2e per year.
- In total, these three projects will avoid 890 tonnes CO2e per year in B.C.
Fraser Basin Council: www.fraserbasin.bc.ca
Renewable Energy for Remote Communities: www.gov.bc.ca/renewable-energy-remote-communities