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Fort Chipewyan solar farm sees $4.5 million in federal funding

An aerial view of Fort Chipewyan, Alta., on the border of Wood Buffalo National Park is shown on Monday, Sept. 19, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

The federal government has announced funding for the solar farm being built in Fort Chipewyan.

Minister of Natural Resources, Amarjeet Sohi announced $4.5 million will be put towards the project, which will be the largest off-grid solar project in Canada once it’s complete.

The funding comes from the Clean Energy for Rural and Remote Communities program, which aims to reduce reliance on diesel.

That funding is on top of $3.3 million invested by the provincial government back in February.

According to the provincial government’s website the project’s estimated cost is $7.8 million, meaning funding has been met by the collaboration.

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

The solar farm is expected to supply 20-25 per cent of the community’s energy and replace 650,000 litres of diesel fuel per year.

The reduction in diesel means fewer tanker trucks on the winter road and reduced noise pollution.

The project is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1,743 tonnes annually.

The project, owned by Three Nations Energy, a Limited Partnership formed by the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, Mikisew Cree First Nation and Fort Chipewyan Métis Local 125, is expected to be running by fall 2020 and will create over 40 jobs during construction.