FORT NELSON, B.C. – A blessing ceremony was held this week at the Clarke Lake site for the future Tu Deh-Kah Geothermal plant. The project is 100 per cent owned by the Fort Nelson First Nation, and will be B.C.’s first geothermal electricity.

Chief Sharleen Gale says the project is a huge part of the Fort Nelson First Nations’ future, planning for the next seven generations.

“We have a great opportunity here to revolutionize the North, and not only provide something for our people, but prosperity and unity. And that’s what it’s really about, bringing everyone together,” Gale said.

Members of the band, guests, and dignitaries gathered to celebrate the geothermal wells and the revolutionary future attached to them.

$40.5 million dollars was awarded by the federal government for the project in March 2021. The geothermal generation plant would produce seven megawatts (MW) of electricity in its initial phase – enough electricity to power about 5,000 homes. It also has the potential to be expanded to 15 MW.

Greenhouses could also be supported through the project, utilizing the 120 degree Celsius water sitting 2,000 to 2,500 metres in the earth.

She added the project wouldn’t have been possible without the strength of the community behind it.

“It’s our community which has really brought this project together, and has made us successful,” said Gale. “It’s a very emotional day for me, particularly, because I know how much work all of these people have put into it – our elders, our spiritual people, our drummers, it’s been remarkable. And it’s been a lot of sweat and tears too.”

The Northern Rockies Regional Municipality was invited to the blessing, with Mayor Gary Foster expressing gratitude for the abundance of natural resources and opportunities Fort Nelson offers its citizens.

“We got huge forests that go on for almost forever, we’ve got natural resources – an abundance of them. And now we have this geothermal well,” said Foster. “We’re fortunate in this country that we have a government that recognizes the rights of First Nations and women’s rights as well. I think this geothermal project is a wonderful example of making society better for everyone here.”