FORT CHIPEWYAN RENEWABLE ENERGY PROJECTCategory: 2012, Climate, Completed, Grant
For years, Fort Chipewyan has relied on expensive gas and diesel generators for power and heat – and the availability of winter roads and high rivers to transport it. The idea of the community running on solar panels and wind turbines is an impressive one, and for the past three years, Fort Chipewyan’s “Sustainable Energy Future Initiative” (SEFI) has met to explore the possibilities of a clean energy future for the community. SEFI is a joint initiative between Fort Chipewyan and the Keepers of the Athabasca, with ongoing assistance from the Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources and Pembina Institute. The initiative recently completed a Community Energy Baseline (CEB) as a first step. Armed with this important demand-side information, the community is now ready to begin to explore opportunities to meet the community’s energy demand with a cleaner supply of energy.
With Ecotrust’s help, SEFI will begin Phase 2 to delve deeper into the options available to Fort Chipewyan based on the unique geography and environmental conditions they face. Two buildings in the community will undergo a full energy efficiency retrofit to showcase the types of construction options available to reduce dependency on traditional fuel sources. A feasibility analysis will be done to assess the opportunities of using wind, hydro, or biomass as energy sources. There are also potential partnerships with Northern Lights College, Keyano College, Lethbridge College to ensure community members are trained to install and maintain any new systems.
Renewable energy is a cause that can unite the community. By bridging the gap between the traditional and the technological, this project will further the shift from non-renewable to renewable energy sources by combining clean energy usage with green jobs training to demonstrate that economic development can be sustainable and not harmful to the environment.