Government of British Columbia

03/13/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 03/13/2019 15:04

Dzawada'enuxw First Nation uses hydroelectric power, reduces reliance on diesel

KINGCOME INLET - Dzawada'enuxw First Nation will construct a hydropower plant to reduce the use of diesel generators in the community and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, supported by a $500,000 equity investment from the Province.

Funding is provided through B.C.'s First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund (FNCEBF), which supports Indigenous communities in their efforts to pursue clean-energy projects. The FNCEBF supports CleanBC, the Province's plan to build a cleaner future that creates opportunities for all British Columbians while protecting B.C.'s clean air, land and water.

Dzawada'enuxw First Nation is developing the 350-kilowatt Padakus Hydropower Project to produce clean, renewable energy to displace diesel-generated electricity.

The project is expected to reduce the community's diesel use by approximately 96%, which will cut greenhouse gas emissions. The conversion to clean energy will also decrease the number of diesel barge deliveries to the remote community, lowering the risk of environmental contamination.

After an assessment of annual diesel purchases and operating costs, the Nation saw this project as a way to create a more sustainable future, while also cutting expenses.

The hydropower plant will take two years to complete, beginning in 2019, with a likely completion of late 2020.

The 2018 First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund also provided funds to six other First Nations to prioritize clean-energy equity projects in their communities. A total of $1.74 million in additional funding was granted to:

  • Ehattesaht First Nation - $500,000 to purchase equity in a run-of-river hydroelectricity plant, enabling the Nation to purchase additional units and reduce debt;
  • Westbank First Nation - $150,000 to build a rooftop solar farm to demonstrate the viability of clean energy;
  • West Moberly Frist Nation - $150,000 to help fund a biomass conversion project to heat the Twin Sister Native Plants Nursery;
  • Tsilhqot'in National Government - $300,000 to support the redevelopment of an industrial brownfield into a solar farm;
  • Homalco First Nation -$140,000 to implement a community energy plan that will introduce efficiency upgrades to homes and community buildings; and
  • Hesquiaht First Nations - $500,000 for construction of a hydropower plant to reduce the use of diesel generators.

The FNCEBF also provided a combined $250,000 in capacity funding to seven First Nations to support clean-energy strategy and planning.

Applications for the next First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund intake will be accepted until the end of May 2019.


Council Chairman Farron Soukochoff, Dzawada'enuxw First Nation -

'It is very important to think about the future of our planet, ensuring that we do all that we can to ensure that we are taking care of it. Working towards being environmentally friendly and having methods of renewable resources has never been more important than it is at this very moment. The funding our Nation has received from the Province towards this goal of clean and renewable energy is a step in the right direction in working together.'

Scott Fraser, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation -

'First Nations are moving forward with greener alternatives, such as solar, in meeting their energy needs. This work is an important part of our CleanBC strategy and supports self-determination. All of us in every area of the province have an important part to play in putting B.C. on a path that powers our future with clean, renewable energy and reduces air pollution.'

George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy -

'Whether solar, wind or other clean-energy sources, the replacement of diesel generation with clean energy through these projects will help us use less fossil fuels while generating new economic activity, new jobs and building our clean economy. It's important that the opportunities of our CleanBC plan are accessible to all British Columbians. That's how rural and Indigenous communities can share in a more prosperous, balanced and sustainable future.'

Michelle Mungall, Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources -

'The First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund helps to bring ideas, vision and innovation to reality to meet CleanBC goals. By transitioning to cleaner electricity options, Indigenous communities can become more energy efficient, while creating local jobs and economic opportunities.'

Quick Facts:

  • The total annual budget is approximately $7.74 million for the FNCEBF for 2019-20.
  • Since 2010, more than 110 First Nations have benefited from more than $10 million in capacity and equity funding.
  • The B.C. FNCEBF provides equity funding to First Nations up to $500,000 for clean-energy projects, up to $150,000 in equity funding toward community energy projects (energy-efficiency, demand-side management and small fuel-switching projects) and capacity funding up to $50,000. Capacity funding supports community energy planning, feasibility studies for developing clean-energy projects or engagement with private-sector clean-energy project proponents.

Learn More:

Provincewide news release and backgrounder information:

Dzawada'enuxw First Nation:

First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund: