Recent Developments in Renewable Energy in Remote Aboriginal Communities, British Columbia, Canada

Konstantinos Karanasios, Paul Parker


Hydroelectricity has a long tradition in British Columbia, provides approximately 95% of the province’s electricity supply, and powers the electrical systems of several remote aboriginal communities. However, diesel generators remain in 23 remote aboriginal communities and a transition from fossil fuels to renewables is desired. This transition has been promoted through a series of Energy Plans from 2002 and the 2010 Clean Energy Act. One of the goals of the Act is to encourage economic development of First Nation and rural areas through the development of clean and renewable energy projects. The stage of development of these clean energy projects varies among communities and insights can be gained by reviewing progress to date. This paper reviews current community electricity systems, past renewable electricity projects, as well as available renewable resources, generation alternatives, and supportive targets and policies in British Columbia.  The results show that two communities recently connected to the newly constructed Northwestern transmission line, and that 15 out of the 23 remote aboriginal communities participate, or plan to participate, in renewable electricity generation to reduce diesel dependence and greenhouse gas emissions, and to increase self-sufficiency.

Keywords: British Columbia, remote aboriginal communities, indigenous communities, diesel, renewable electricity, energy transition, climate action policies

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