Three local projects that will create clean energy for First Nations bands and provide an opportunity to sell power onto the B.C. Hydro grid are a step closer to reality.
The Whispering Pines, Splatsin, Neskonlith and Adams River First Nations have received funding via the province's First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund.
Whispering Pines received $39,700 to conduct a feasibility study to develop a community-based energy system supplied by wood pellets and/or biomass waste.
Chief Michael LeBourdais said the band designated 32 hectares of land for a future subdivision that would have power provided by the proposed facility.
The facility would burn dead pine trees, which are in abundance at Whispering Pines, to generate the power, he said. The band has partnered with Urban Systems to develop the project.
LeBourdais said First Nations want to find alternative energy sources and are pursuing green options such as wind, solar and biomass.
"Any excess power we have, we would sell back to B.C. Hydro," he said. LeBourdais expects the feasibility study will be complete this fall.
Splatsin and Neskonlith First Nations received slightly more money — $40,000 — to negotiate a development agreement to build a 42-megawatt run-of-the-river hydroelectric project near Revelstoke.
Run-of-the-river projects create power with little or no water storage.
Robin Billy, general manager of Sexqueltkemc Enterprises, a conglomerate representing Splatsin, Neskonlith and the Adams River Band, said the power would be sold to B.C. Hydro as a money-making venture for the bands.
If all goes well, the project will proceed in the fall, he said. The bands have been working on the proposal for two years.
"These projects are happening all over the province with B.C.'s call for clean energy," said Billy.
The Adams Lake Band received $9,758 to investigate the possibility of building a pumped storage hydropower project between Star Lake and Little Shuswap Lake.
This method of hydropower stores energy in the form of water, pumped from a lower elevation reservoir to a higher elevation. Low-cost off-peak electric power is used to run the pumps. During periods of high electrical demand, the stored water is released through turbines to produce electric power.
The bands were among 12 First Nations projects to receive funding from the First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund.