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First Nation energy projects funded

Three First Nation energy projects in Northeast B.C. are receiving $400,000 in provincial funding, it was announced today.
Ryan-Dickie-Clarke-Lake-Geothermal-Site-Work
Clarke Lake geothermal site work.

Three First Nation energy projects in Northeast B.C. are receiving $400,000 in provincial funding, it was announced today.

The Doig and Saulteau First Nation are each receiving $150,000 to install 25 to 35 small-scale residential solar photovoltaic systems on their reserve lands, the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation announced. The ministry says the projects will prioritize vulnerable and low-income community members, advance energy self-sufficiency, and reduce energy bills.

"We at Doig River First Nation are grateful for the announcement of funding for our community's solar expansion project. This will allow us to take the next steps toward an ultimate goal of power independence," said Davide Loro, manager of integrated services for Doig River First Nation.

The Clarke Lake geothermal project is also receiving $100,000 to continue repurposing the Clarke Lake gas field near Fort Nelson into commercially viable geothermal electricity and heat production facilities, the ministry said. Funding will cover a portion of the total cost of the sub-surface resource and surface facilities engineer design work, the ministry said.

"Fort Nelson First Nation is paving the way in Canada's emerging geothermal industry-Tu Deh-Kah Geothermal is leading the energy transition and bringing new life to the depleted Clarke Lake gas field," Chief Sharleen Gale said in a statement. "Our people's future depends on our ability to transform into a renewable-energy economy that can also support food security in our territory. We are proud of the sustainable future we are building for generations to come."

The funding is coming from the First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund. The ministry says a key goal of the fund is to increase the participation of Indigenous communities in the province's clean-energy sector.