Event date: Wednesday, November 13th at 13:00 ET
BioEnergy is a growing sector for Indigenous communities across Canada as a means of heating and powering communities without reliance on fossil fuels. These kinds of projects have the potential to make use of local resources that could otherwise be wasted, provide employment opportunities, and other benefits including reducing diesel consumption in remote communities.
This Nation is in the interior of the province of British Columbia, on the northern point of the Williston Reservoir, a region with a history of community devastation due to flooding from hydroelectric dams built without consultation with First Nations in the area. Now Tsay Keh Nation looks to the future with the development of a 1.2MW CoGen facility which will put local timber industry debris, and deadwood from the Williston Reservoir to use in the production of clean heat and power for the community.
Mike Tilson introduced us to the rationale of selecting the CoGeneration facility for this community, and he shared that the idea was borne from the community to reduce its dependence on diesel as the sole source of electricity. The local timber industry is strong in the area and it was determined that the waste materials from this industry would support a long-term local feedstock that could be mixed with the reservoir wood to fuel the CoGen facility. In turn, the project will effectively offset 100% of the diesel generators in the community. The project will be eventually incorporate a battery storage system to buffer the energy demands and create a system that would not require the diesel system to operate except as a back-up.
The AZA community is currently advancing the development of a new community at Partridge Lake. It has done several Comprehensive Community Planning reviews with its members, of all ages, to make sure this is their vision. One of the keys to development is finding the right fit for services.
The feasibility of a combined heat and power system is now being explored, and part of that information gathering was to do a site visit to the Teslin Tlingit First Nation, which has a similar community dynamic to AZA and which has a successful BioEnergy project. The key learning for the AZA team was that the project not only offset diesel usage in the community but also provided training and employment opportunities.
The next step for the project will be the completion of the feasibility study as we progress through the first design phase for our new community lands. The community will be developed in phases, starting with the downtown core and the first twenty homes.
Blair Hogan, President & CEO of Gunta Business, gave our participants a comprehensive look at the successful Teslin BioHeat project in his community. The project was identified as an opportunity through strong community engagement sessions which reinforced the idea that the community was supportive of a project which could make use of the forestry by-products produced in the area, reduce the dependence on fossil fuels in the community, as well as benefit from training and employment opportunities.
While delivering his presentation, Blair shared with us that he was in the midst of a tour of clean energy projects, suppliers and technologies in Germany and Finland. He shared his observations that in Europe, the BioEnergy sector is far-reaching and is widely implemented. The challenge in many of these areas is the imports of feedstock required since the lands are so greatly developed, the fuel needs to be imported for use. In future, Blair shared that BioHeat is just the first step, and in fact, there are several key areas that he will be exploring with Teslin and should be on the horizons for other communities as well:
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