Pembina Institute reacts to the Government of Alberta’s $3.3m grant to reduce Fort Chipewyan’s reliance on imported diesel for electric power.

Solar Panels Fort Chipewyan
Photo: Lee Todd, Pembina Institute

CALGARY – DAVE LOVEKIN, Director, Renewables in Remote Communities at the Pembina Institute, made the following statement in response to the Government of Alberta’s announcement supporting Fort Chipewyan’s solar photovoltaic and battery hybrid micro-grid system:

“The Pembina Institute is extremely pleased to see the community of Fort Chipewyan make a strong entry into the renewable energy sector with a collaborative solar energy project that will reduce dependence on diesel for electricity. This is a bright day for Alberta, and specifically Fort Chipewyan. The Pembina Institute applauds the progress being made in the province, on this and other initiatives supporting a transition away from diesel reliance in remote communities.

“This project is another strong example of the tectonic shift happening in remote Indigenous communities. These clean energy opportunities not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions and negative environment impacts, but are also a source of pride for community members and a source of revenue for the community.

“When completed in 2020, the new hybrid microgrid system will be the largest solar PV system in a remote Canadian community, and the project is expected to supply a total of 25 per cent of the community’s power, and reduce total annual diesel consumption by 800,000 litres per year.

The municipality of Fort Chipewyan is home to three Indigenous Nations that have come together to create Three Nation Energy LP, which will partner with the local power provider to develop and build the project

This partnership is a very positive step in creating opportunities for Indigenous communities to play a leadership role in their energy futures. Through this collaboration, all three Nations will benefit from the revenue this renewable project will produce, while also lessening the environmental impacts to land, air and water from diesel reliance.”

Quick facts

  • This announcement is Phase 2 of a larger solar power initiative in the community of Fort Chipewyan. Phase 1 comprised a smaller 400 kW solar PV project lead by ATCO Electric that will reduce diesel fuel consumption by 150,000 litres per year.
  • Through its Climate Leadership Plan and the Alberta Indigenous Climate Leadership Program, the Government of Alberta is investing $3.3 million for Phase 2, to develop a 2.2 megawatt solar PV and a 1.5 megawatt-hour battery storage system in the northeastern Alberta community.
  • The 2.2 MW solar PV will consist of 6,000 solar panels – in addition to the 1,500 for Phase 1 – located in the community of Fort Chipewyan, which will connect to ATCO Electric’s micro-grid.
  • The Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN), Métis Local 125 (Métis), and the Mikisew Cree First Nation (MCFN) have come together to create Three Nation Energy LP, which will develop, build and co-own the new system with local power provider ATCO Electric.
  • There are seven isolated communities in northern Alberta; through other Government of Alberta’s initiatives, there are plans for several to be connected to the provincial grid while others are also being equipped with solar PV and battery systems.
  • Phase 2 of the project is expected to generate approximately 2,300 MWh of electricity per year, enough to power the equivalent of 350 homes, which equates to approximately 70 per cent of the residential building stock in the community.

Source: Pembina Institute

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