The Alberta government has announced it is contributing $3.3 million to Three Nations Energy LP to fund a project that will see 7,500 solar panels built in Fort Chipewyan.
Three Nations Energy (3NE) was founded by the Fort Chipewyan Métis Local 125, the Athabasca Chipewyan and Mikisew Cree First Nations. Saskatoon lawyer Rangi Jeerakathil advised the Fort Chipewyan Métis in the formation of the company.
The solar farm will be Canada’s largest off-grid solar project, and is expected to replace approximately 25% of Fort Chipewyan’s energy use. The remote community in northeast Alberta is not connected to the province’s electricity grid, and currently relies on diesel fuel for heat and power.
It is expected that the solar panels, which will have battery capacity for use at night and throughout the winter, will be operational by the fall of 2020. The total cost of the project is an estimated $7.8 million.
“Three Nations Energy is about Indigenous Peoples working in partnership and collaborating with governments and private industry to protect the environment,” Kelly Piche of the Fort Chipewyan Métis said in a statement. “Our solar farm will create local employment, increase our energy security and, over time, it can generate revenues to reinvest in our community.”
About Rangi Jeerakathil
A partner in the MLT Aikins Saskatoon office, Rangi practises in the areas of environmental, energy and Aboriginal law, including corporate social responsibility. He advises Aboriginal communities and industry on environmental, land, resource, constitutional rights and jurisdictional matters.