Canada’s largest indigenous-owned solar farm has just been opened in the Northern Alberta community of Fort Chipewyan.
Supplying a solar electricity of 2.2 megawatts for three First Nations tribes, it will reduce the community’s reliance on the diesel-fired plant, which has been supplying them for decades.
On Tuesday, during the celebration of the project’s completion, Chief Allan Adam of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation revealed that:
We worked together and we made it happen. We work with the sun, we work with the wind, we work with Mother Nature and we work the water for the children of the future—to give them a better life, a cleaner life.Chief Allan Adam
A community made up of just 1,000 people, until now, Fort Chipewyan got their necessary three million liters of diesel a year from fuel trucks braving ice roads that melt away in summertime, or by river barge.
These solar panels will deliver about 25% of the power demand of the community, but being in the subarctic, there are few daylight hours during wintertime, which means that solar energy is a little less reliable than in most other places.
The renewable energy it generates will be equivalent to about 800,000 liters of diesel, or 2,300 tonnes of CO2, sparing 25 tankers the 220-kilometer (124-mile) trek up from Fort McMurray in the south on dangerous ice roads.
This is a very proud moment for all of us as a community. We’ve worked together very hard for these past couple of years.Blue Eyes Simpson (The Fort Chipewyan Métis Association’s vice-president).
The state and federal government helped contribute to the $7.6 million project, which is also the world’s most remote solar farm.
Indigenous people must have an equity stake in resource projects if there’s going to be a healthy future for our vital resources industry.Rick Wilson (Minister of Indigenous Relations for Alberta).