Xeni Gwet’in Chief Jimmy Lulua said the community has been working on a clean energy plan for the past 20 years. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Clean energy project to improve living standards at Xeni Gwet’in First Nation

Diesel use for electricity generation will be reduced by approximately 50,000 litres per year

A remote, off-grid First Nation community west of Williams Lake will see more than two dozen homes transition from diesel generators to a cleaner, more reliable energy source.

The Xeni Gwet’in First Nation is receiving $1.86 million for a transmission line to connect 28 homes to the community’s hybrid clean energy micro-grid through the province’s Renewable Energy for Remote Communities (RERC) program.

Making the switch will result in diesel consumption for electricity generation being reduced by approximately 50,000 litres per year.

Chief Jimmy Lulua noted his community has been working on clean energy for the past 20 years with a goal of improving living standards for their people, as many still rely on gas/diesel generators and many don’t have running water.

Read More: B.C. First Nation-owned solar farm connected to the grid

“The community has always supported achieving self-sufficiency with alternative energy sources. Many of these initiatives align with our teachings to leave things how they were or better, and moving from generators to clean energy catalyses the conditions for improved living spaces.”

The Xeni Gwet’in First Nation clean energy project is one of four to be funded under the RERC program which is administered on behalf of the province by Coast Funds and the Fraser Basin Council to help remote communities move away from polluting diesel generators to cleaner energy sources.

“The Fraser Basin Council is happy to be working with Xeni Gwet’in First Nations Government and the Province of British Columbia as they demonstrate how a small community in a remote area can make positive change for sustainability,” said Fraser Basin Council executive officer, David Marshall.

“Powering homes with diesel comes with a considerable price tag, depends on long-distance fuel transport and results in high emissions. The Xeni Gwet’in have transitioned to a hybrid solar-diesel system that incorporates a cleaner, cheaper and more reliable renewable power source and extends the micro-grid to more people in the community.”

Read More: B.C. government adds to latest greenhouse gas emission targets

Work on the project is expected to begin in the coming year.

Once the underground line micro-grid extension project is complete, Lulua said living standards will improve in his community.

“We, as Xeni Gwet’ins, continue to be a role-model community to all First Nations communities and take pride in being a world-class model community.”

Announced by the province in the CleanBC Plan, the RERC program is a key part of B.C.’s Remote Community Strategy that targets 22 of the largest diesel generating stations and aims to reduce provincewide diesel consumption for generating electricity in remote communities by 80% by 2030.

“For millennia, First Nations have cared for and sustained these lands,” stated Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, Scott Fraser. “Reclaiming healthy lands and clean, fresh air are necessities that are long past due, and important parts of the CleanBC plan.”

Last fall, School District 27 received a Clean Energy BC community improvement award for a solar and battery project at Naghtaneqed Elementary Junior Secondary School in the Nemiah Valley that was expected to reduce the district’s entire carbon footprint by eight per cent.

Prior to that improvement, the school, which is located within the Xeni Gwet’in First Nation community, used diesel generators to power the school.

Read More: SD27 awarded for innovative solar energy project at off the grid school

Do you have a comment about this story? email:

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Quesnel RCMP investigating hit and run on Quesnel River Bridge

Bridge traffic reduced to single lane alternating

B.C. First Nation hopes to offer new visitor experiences in 2021

Travellers reminded to check for updates on access to Title Lands if visiting this summer

Local war hero ceberating 100 years of life

Derek Beningfield records his grandfather’s history ahead of his 100th birthday on July 14

Editorial: Thanks for the memories

Sasha Sefter says farewell to our readers

B.C. records 62 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths since Friday

Province has just over 200 active cases

Hotel rooms for B.C. homeless too hasty, NDP government told

Businesses forced out, but crime goes down, minister says

Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening: Trudeau

Trudeau said the extension will ‘give greater certainty and support to businesses’

B.C. government prepares for COVID-19 economic recovery efforts

New measures after July consultation, Carole James says

Tree planters get help with COVID-19 protective measures

Ottawa funds extra transportation, sanitizing for crews

Trudeau apologizes for not recusing himself from WE decision

He says his and his family’s longtime involvement with the WE organization should have kept him out of the discussions

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

Islanders want BC Ferries to follow order that lets residents board before tourists

For ferry-dependent communities, ferries are often the sole practical lifeline to work, school or medical appointments.

Most Read