FORT NELSON, B.C. – The province of British Columbia has awarded a permit to Fort Nelson First Nation to move forward on a geothermal energy project.
The permit grants geothermal resource rights to Deh Tai GP Inc., a development company of the Fort Nelson First Nation, and includes 25 parcels of land. The land totals about 6,800 hectares in the mature Clarke Lake gas field near the community of Fort Nelson in the northeast corner of the province.
“Fort Nelson is not connected to B.C.’s electricity grid, so geothermal energy could replace power currently generated from fossil fuels or imported from Alberta. This permit gives the Fort Nelson First Nation the certainty it needs to attract investment and move forward with developing a geothermal energy project that will reduce climate pollution while creating new jobs and opportunities,” provincial minister of energy mines and petroleum resources Bruce Ralston said.
“With the Clark Lake Geothermal Project, Fort Nelson First Nation is proudly demonstrating Indigenous leadership that will help pave the way for Western Canada’s transition toward a cleaner and more energy secure future. We look forward to continuing to work with our federal and provincial partners to make this project a model success that benefits our community members and the surrounding territory,” Fort Nelson First Nation Chief Sharleen Gale said.
Both the provincial government and BC Hydro voiced enthusiasm at the potential of geothermal to add to B.C.’s energy resource mix with a reliable, consistent form of energy production according to a release from the province of B.C.
The province provided $5 million to Geoscience BC in the 2019 budget to launch new projects including a regional assessment of geothermal energy potential in the Garibaldi Volcanic Belt and Fort Nelson First Nation received $1 million from Natural Resources Canada in August 2019 to assess geothermal energy at Clarke Lake.
The project falls under the umbrella of CleanBC, an initiative where the province works in collaboration with Indigenous peoples to “seize new clean energy and economic development opportunities,” the release stated.