Federal government announces $40.5M Clarke Lake geothermal project

FORT NELSON, B.C. – The federal government announced $40.5 million to the Clarke Lake Geothermal Project on Fr…

FORT NELSON, B.C. – The federal government announced $40.5 million to the Clarke Lake Geothermal Project on Friday.

“The technology that was applied to natural gas exploration is being adapted to geothermal energy development in exciting ways,” says Fort Nelson mayor Gary Foster.

“The repurposing of idle gas fields is such an innovative idea that will benefit the entire country and set us on a path for a cleaner future, not just for ourselves, but for the planet.”

Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, the Honourable Seamus O’Regan Jr., announced the federal investment for the project, wholly-owned by the Fort Nelson and Saulteau First Nations, to develop Canada’s first commercially viable geothermal electricity production facilities.

“How we produce energy for tomorrow will go a long way in determining how we tackle the urgent climate crisis today and how we get to net zero emissions by 2050,” says O’Regan.

“Innovative, renewable energy projects like Clarke Lake showcases Indigenous communities’ leadership in fighting climate change and their commitment to Canada’s clean energy future.”

The approximately $100 million project is set to be up and running by the end of 2024, with the first well expected to be drilled in June 2021.

Fort Nelson First Nation Chief Sharleen Gale says this project will revolutionize the north.

“The Clarke Lake Geothermal Project represents Fort Nelson’s drive toward creating a sustainable economy for our People, one that strikes a balance between the environment and the economy. Our work to get this historic project off the ground demonstrates what Indigenous leadership towards net-zero project development looks like,” says Gale.

The Clarke Lake Geothermal Development Project, being developed on the existing gas field, will use geothermal heat resources in its reservoir to displace fossil fuel extraction, reducing emissions.

The project will create jobs for local community members and provide training to workers in other industries to help shift towards the renewable energy sector.

The Clarke Lake Geothermal Facility is expected to produce seven to 15 megawatts of clean electricity, equivalent to powering 14,000 homes. By shifting away from fossil fuels, up to 25,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions will be eliminated per year, equivalent to taking over 5,000 cars off the road.

Geothermal energy is created by harnessing heat from inside the earth’s crust, transforming it into electricity to power homes year-round.

Natural Resources Canada invested $1 million towards resource assessment for the project, plus $38.5 million from the Emerging Renewables Power Program.

Western Economic Diversification Canada invested $2 million to assess the resource’s ability to produce power and develop an Indigenous Employment and Training Strategy.

Indigenous Services Canada contributed $250,000 through its Community Opportunity Readiness Program, which provides project-based funding for First Nation and Inuit Communities.

The Government of British Columbia contributed nearly $1 million to the project, including $430,000 through the First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund.


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