The province is doling out $400,000 towards three First Nation energy projects in Northeast B.C.

The funding announced Thursday is through the First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund, moving towards the province’s goal of a low-carbon future, said the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation.

Both Saulteau First Nation and the Doig River First Nation are receiving $150,000 to install 25 to 35 small-scale residential solar photovoltaic systems on their reserve lands.

The ministry says the projects will prioritize vulnerable and low-income community members, to advance energy self-sufficiency and reduce energy bills.

“We at Doig River First Nation are grateful for the announcement of funding for our community’s solar expansion project. This will allow us to take the next steps toward an ultimate goal of power independence,” said Davide Loro, manager of integrated services for Doig River First Nation.

“This will allow our members to reduce their energy costs over the long term, and that is our objective,” said Saulteau First Nation Chief Justin Napoleon.

The Clarke Lake project is receiving $100,000 to repurpose the gas field near Fort Nelson into one of Canada’s first commercially viable geothermal electricity and heat production facilities, the ministry said. This is the project’s second round of funding and will cover a portion of the total cost of the sub-surface resource and surface facilities engineer design work.

“Fort Nelson First Nation is paving the way in Canada’s emerging geothermal industry—Tu Deh-Kah Geothermal is leading the energy transition and bringing new life to the depleted Clarke Lake gas field. Our people’s future depends on our ability to transform into a renewable-energy economy that can also support food security in our territory. We are proud of the sustainable future we are building for generations to come,” said Fort Nelson First Nation Chief Sharleen Gale.

The province also announced the fund is resetting its capacity funding limit to $50,000 for all Indigenous communities to access for clean-energy projects.

The fund provided more than $3.8 million to support new capacity and equity projects in 27 Indigenous communities throughout the province.

The FNCEBF is accepting applications for the next intake until January 31st, 2022.