Canada’s largest off-grid solar and storage project being developed in Fort Chipewyan is receiving federal funding.
Minister of Natural Resources Amarjeet Sohi announced on Thursday a $4.5 million investment through its Clean Energy for Rural and Remote Communities program. This follows the Alberta Government’s commitment of $3.3 million made earlier this year.
The rural hamlet isn’t connected to Alberta’s electric grid and has been relying on burning diesel fuel for heat and power.
Officials say the project’s combined solar and battery energy storage system will displace 650,000 litres of diesel fuel per year, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 1,743 tonnes annually. It will also supply around 25 per cent of the community’s energy use.
“The Three Nations Energy Solar Farm project showcases our community’s shared vision of achieving energy sovereignty and becoming a leader in creating a climate-friendly economy. 3NE will work as one to build capacity and implement other projects in energy efficiency and green energy,” said Mikisew Cree First Nation Councillor Calvin Waquan.
The project, which is owned by Three Nations Energy, a Limited Partnership formed by the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, Mikisew Cree First Nation and Fort Chipewyan Métis Local 125, is expected to create around 40 jobs during construction.
ATCO is also helping with construction, design, and local employment benefits.
Upon completion, the new 2.2-megawatt solar farm will complement an existing 400-kilowatt installation, making it the largest off-grid solar project in Canada.
Fort Chipewyan is expected to start using solar energy by 2020.