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Solar farm development in Fort Chip a "noble endeavor"

PHOTO. Supplied. Northern Alberta hamlet, Fort Chipewyan.

Fort Chip will get a little brighter thanks to the creation of a “solar farm.”

Alberta Indigenous Relations Minister Richard Feehan made the trek to Fort Chipewyan to announce the development of a large bank of solar panels, which will power and heat homes in the northern community.

“I’m quite proud to be here in this place. One of the largest northern communities in northern Alberta is now taking a giant step, not just in the decline of diesel, but in self-sustainability.”

The province will support Three Nations Energy (3NE), which is a partnership between Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, Mikisew Cree First Nation, and Métis Local 125, in owning and maintaining the “solar farm”.

Mikisew Cree First Nation councillor Calvin Waquan says 3NE will be “a leader in creating a climate-friendly economy.”

“The Three Nations Energy solar farm project showcases our community’s shared vision of achieving energy sovereignty. 3NE will work as one to build capacity and implement other projects in energy efficiency and green energy.”

3NE will own a “solar photovoltaic system” of 7,500 panels that will replace 800,000 litres of diesel fuel from Fort Chipewyan.

Less dependence on diesel means fewer diesel tanker trucks on the Winter Road and reduced noise pollution.

“While our regional economy depends on the oil industry, we feel the effects of climate change in our community and see the growing impacts on our delta lands. Our members want us to be part of the solution and we appreciate Alberta working with us to take a big step forward to cut pollution and protect the environment.” Says Chief Allan Adam of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation.

The Fort Chip solar farm should be up and running in the fall of 2020.