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Province announces funding for First Nations clean-energy projects

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VICTORIA, B.C. – The B.C. government has announced that it is increasing funding by $2.1 million for First Nations clean energy projects over the next three years as part of its commitment to action on climate change.

The funding will be prioritized to help remote Aboriginal communities that aren’t connected to the BC Hydro grid to end their reliance on diesel-powered generators. The funding will be contingent on matching federal funding, and is part of the Province’s legislated target to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and create a clean-energy supply.

“It is a testament to the success of the First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund that we are able to provide additional funding based on the actual revenue from eligible projects,” said Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation Minister John Rustad. “This new funding can be used to help more Aboriginal communities reduce their greenhouse-gas emissions, while also becoming self-sufficient.”

The new funding will be administered under the First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund, which helps Aboriginal communities identify clean-energy solutions and jumpstart construction of viable projects.

The clean-energy fund, in existence since 2010, has helped remote and other B.C. First Nations reduce their reliance on fossil fuels. Kwadacha Nation is an excellent example that demonstrates the success of the fund.

Kwadacha Nation is a remote Fort Ware community 570 kilometres north of Prince George. The community was awarded $400,000 in equity funding under the business fund. The funding provided support towards a combined heat-and-power bioenergy system intended to offset diesel generation.

Heat generated by the system will be used for a district energy system, while electricity generated will be sold to BC Hydro under a 20-year Electricity Purchase Agreement. Kwadacha Nation has also received $150,000 toward the project from the Province’s Community Energy Leadership Program.

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