B.C. offers clean energy aid to remote communities

The British Columbia government invites expressions of interest from about 70 remote communities for assistance in developing remote community clean energy systems, including hydropower. Submissions are to be reviewed on a quarterly basis beginning Dec. 15.

The B.C. Energy, Mines, and Petroleum Ministry said the Remote Clean Energy Program is to encourage development of sustainable energy systems through planning, community-owned clean energy development, and energy efficiency assistance. Program staff is to work with communities to obtain support, expertise, and matching funding for community energy solutions.

The ministry has identified about 70 remote communities, defined as communities that are not connected to the major natural gas or electric systems. About half of the identified communities are First Nations, it said, most of which use diesel generation to support energy demand.

The province is providing C$20 million (US$16.3 million) over four years in three key areas:
o Community energy planning: The first step is to submit an expression of interest and initiate a community energy plan, for which communities are eligible for funding and staff support, as well as additional funding to implement energy efficiency and clean energy supply projects.
o Major projects: Clean energy supply projects that displace diesel generation are eligible for funding. Among the first projects to receive funding in 2007 and 2008 were C$1 million (US$816,250) toward the 2.4-MW Atlin hydroelectric project and another C$1 million toward the Klemtu hydroelectric project, both replacing diesel generation.
o Energy efficiency and energy savings kits: Kits are provided in partnership with the B.C. First Nations Energy Working Group, BC Hydro, and the ministry for distribution to every remote community home.

The ministry said expressions of interest are to be reviewed on a quarterly basis, with the first review Dec. 15 and the last review to be Dec. 15, 2010.

Information and expression of interest documents may be obtained from the ministry Internet site at www.empr.gov.bc.ca/EAED/Pages/CommunityEnergy.aspx.

For information, contact Heather McDonald, Ministry of Energy, Mines, and Petroleum Resources, (1) 877-387-7681; E-mail: heather.j.mcdonald@gov.gc.ca.

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