​Ottawa adds to Alberta funding for huge off-grid solar farm in Fort Chipewyan

Image: Joey Podlubny/JWN

The remote community of Fort Chipewyan, Alberta will have soon have a solar project to fuel an estimated 25 percent of its energy use, as a result of federal and provincial funding.

Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi announced on Thursday that the Government of Canada is adding $4.5 million to fund the project on top of the $3.3 million of funding announced by the Province of Alberta in February.

That completes the previously disclosed total capital investment required of $7.8 million.

Upon completion, which is expected next year, a new 2.2-megawatt solar farm will complement an existing 400 kilowatt installation, making it the largest off-grid solar project in Canada.

In addition, a battery storage system and micro-grid control system will improve reliability of the grid.

The project’s combined solar and battery energy storage system is expected to displace 650,000 litres of diesel fuel per year, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 1,743 tonnes annually.

The project will be 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 — three neighbouring Indigenous groups in Fort Chipewyan. ATCO, an energy infrastructure company, will be a partner in the project.

“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,” Councillor Calvin Waquan of the Mikisew Cree First Nation said in the statement.

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