First Nation owned geothermal energy project moves closer to completion in B.C.


Fort Nelson First Nation (FNFN) in northern B.C. says it’s hoping the clean energy produced from a geothermal plant, which is expected to go online within the next couple of years, can power over 10,000 homes.

A blessing ceremony was held at Clark Lake field in early September, signaling the completion of two geothermal wells nearby.

The plant, which is scheduled to go online in 2025, will use the heat generated from fluids inside the earth and create renewable energy.

In an interview with APTN News, Chief Sharleen Gale shared the importance of Indigenous People’s involvement in resource projects in their territories for success.

“One of the things I think is very important is for Indigenous communities to be involved in the economic opportunities,” she said.  “Projects that are happening in their territories and also the importance of UNDRIP and what that means for each nation and how they want to be a part of it.”

geothermal
Standing in front of a recently completed Tu Deh-Kah Geothermal well on the Clarke Lake site, left to right, is Fort Nelson First Nation Councillor Cynthia Burke, Deh Tai Director Darryl Mitchell, Councillor Patricia Capot Blanc, Deh Tai CEO Jim Hodgson, Director Archie Harrold, Councillor Harvey Behn, Councillor Roberta Dendys, Chief Councillor and Deh Tai Chair Sharleen Gale, and Councillor Aaron Dendys. Photo courtesy: Ryan Dickie/Winter Hawk Studios.

She added the project would be a big part of the future of the region.

“We just want to bring a revolutionary project to the community so we can share it with our neighbours and our relatives up in the north,” she said.

“There is a lot of o things that come with that, whether its food security or powering the territory that helps meet our net-zero goals for 2050.”

geothermal project
Tu Deh-Kah Geothermal’s name and logo were developed to represent this 100 per cent First Nation owned project, the banner proudly hangs on a drill rig on the Clarke Lake site. Photo courtesy: Ryan Dickie/Winter Hawk Studios.

The site also received a name change from Clarke Lake Geothermal Project to a Dene name Tu Deh-Kah which translates to “water steam”.

It was a former natural gas site repurposed for geothermal energy.

The Fort Nelson region, located along the Alaska Highway in northeastern B.C., is not connected to the primary power grid in B.C. and is still dependent on fossil fuels.

Gale said she wants Tu Deh-Kah Geothermal to provide jobs for her people to return to their home community.

She also wants the younger generation to be inspired to chase new career paths.

“To inspire them so that they can pursue career paths and stay close to home, but the opportunities are nation-building opportunities. It will create sustainable jobs for the community and neighbouring ommunities,” she said.

Video Journalist / Kitimat Village, B.C.

Lee is a video journalist with APTN News, who shoots, reports and edits stories out of northern British Columbia. As a member of the Haisla Nation, Lee is proud to call Kitimat Village home again after living on Vancouver Island for 18 years. He has a passion for storytelling and looks forward to sharing stories through the lens of First Nations people.