Canada and British Columbia invest in upgrade of 1.7-MW Klemtu hydropower project

Representatives of the governments of Canada and British Columbia have announced funding for two green infrastructure projects, including modernization and expansion of the 1.7-MW Klemtu hydropower project, they say will be key to transitioning the communities to renewable energy.

The Honourable Joyce Murray, Minister of Digital Government, on behalf of the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities; the Honourable George Heyman, B.C. Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy; Chief Councillor Roxanne Robinson of the Kitasoo Xai’xais Nation; and Mike Overend, Director of Development for the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association, announced the funding. The other project involves the installation of solar panels and vehicle charging stations for the Thompson Okanagan Inspiration Centre.

The Government of Canada is investing nearly $4 million in these two projects through the Green Infrastructure Stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program. The Government of British Columbia is contributing over $800,000 through the CleanBC Communities Fund. The recipients are contributing a combined total of over $700,000.

Built over 40 years ago, the hydropower plant in Klemtu is in need of upgrades due to aging components, notably to increase its capacity and reduce the occurrence of blackouts. Kitasoo Xai’xais Nation owns and operates the facility, located at Baron Lake. The project includes replacing the penstock system to reactivate the original turbine, which will provide a significant source of renewable energy for the remote community of over 300 people.

The upgrades will also help decrease Klemtu’s reliance on fossil fuel and significantly reduce carbon emissions. This project will create an opportunity for growth in the community through job creation and will support the construction of more homes in the area.

The Government of Canada is investing over $3.89 million in this project. The Government of British Columbia is contributing over $778,000 through the CleanBC Communities Fund. The Kitasoo Xai’xais Nation is contributing over $653,000. These amounts build on previous investments from the Government of Canada ($518,000) and the Government of British Columbia (about $5.5 million).

The Thompson Okanagan Inspiration Centre promotes and sells local Indigenous art. The Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association will acquire and install solar panels and three electric vehicle charging stations, which will be available for tourists and visitors. The solar panels will be used as the main source of electricity for the building, in addition to powering the vehicle charging stations.

The Government of Canada is investing over $91,000 in this project. The Government of British Columbia is contributing over $57,000. The Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association is contributing over $80,000.

“The upgrades to Kitasoo Xai’xais Nation’s local hydropower plant will provide residents with a reliable and sustainable source of renewable energy. Congratulations to the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association in lowering the environmental impact of the Inspiration Centre and promoting the use of electric vehicles. These are both prime examples of green investments that help build strong, resilient communities. Canada’s infrastructure plan invests in thousands of projects, creates jobs across the country, and builds cleaner, more inclusive communities,” said The Honourable Joyce Murray on behalf of the Honourable Catherine McKenna.

Through the Investing in Canada plan, the federal government is investing more than $180 billion over 12 years in public transit projects, green infrastructure, social infrastructure, trade and transportation routes, and Canada’s rural and northern communities. Across B.C., the Government of Canada has invested more than $4.3 billion in over 541 infrastructure projects under the Investing in Canada Plan.

The CleanBC Communities Fund invests in public infrastructure owned by local governments, Indigenous communities, not-for-profits and projects in partnership with for-profit entities. Together, the federal and provincial governments have committed more than $110 million to the first and second intakes of the CleanBC Communities Fund.

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