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First Nation becomes NWT’s first independent power producer

June 22, 2016 | By Renée Francoeur

A solar panel in Lutsel K'e. Photo courtesy Bullfrog Power.

June 22, 2016 – Bullfrog Power and the Lutsel K’e Dene First Nation (LKDFN) have launched a solar project that will assist the community’s transition from fossil fuels to renewable power.

Lutsel K’e is a tiny and remote community located east of Yellowknife on the Northwest Territories’ Great Slave Lake. The LKDFN own the solar array and as such, they were able to negotiate a power purchase agreement with Northwest Territories Power Corp. (NTPC). That agreement gives the LKDFN “the distinction of becoming the first independent power producer anywhere in Canada’s northern territories”. The LKDFN is now the “first non-government entity to generate electricity and reap the economic benefits on behalf of the people who live in the community”, Bullfrog added.

In addition, the LKDFN Band Council said it has approved a green reserve fund that will direct savings resulting from the solar array toward future green initiatives.

“This project recognizes that there is a more sustainable path open to communities across Canada, particularly in northern communities that rely on diesel generators,” said Agatha Laboucan, SAO/band manager with LKDFN.

The 35kW project consists of 144 solar panels and is built on repurposed land that had previously been used as a diesel fuel tank storage site.

As part of its work as a social enterprise, Bullfrog Power provided a grant to the LKDFN that helped to make the solar project a reality for the community. Recent Bullfrog Power Projects with First Nations include a partnership with Montana First Nation in Alberta as well as the construction of a solar project with the Kitasoo/Xai’Xais First Nation in Klemtu, B.C.

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