To improve energy efficiency and identify economic opportunities for renewable energy generation, Quatsino First Nation, BC, created a community energy plan in March 2019 with a grant from FCM’s Municipalities for Climate Innovation Program (MCIP).

The Quatsino First Nation community is one of 12 First Nations located within the boundary of the Regional District of Mount Waddington (RDMW). Quatsino is part of the North Island Regional Protocol Agreement, along with six other First Nations, the regional district and other local municipalities. The agreement fosters mutual recognition and cooperation, and Quatsino’s community energy plan is founded on its principles. Mount Waddington supported the development of the plan by providing technical support and sharing information on the benefits and challenges of its own renewable energy and energy-efficiency initiatives.

The community energy plan aligns with other planning work done by Quatsino First Nation to guide community development and growth, including its 2019 Land Use Plan. Through meetings and a survey, community members helped establish the scope of the plan and Quatsino’s community energy goals which were determined to be: Increase energy efficiency in homes and other buildings in the community; reduce utility bills and GHG emissions; and develop renewable energy in Quatsino’s traditional territory.

Quatsino conducted energy audits on 24 homes to gather baseline information on energy use and to set reduction targets. The audits revealed that the majority of homes would benefit from measures such as air sealing, insulation and heat pump installations. Audits of the health centre, K’ak’ot’lats’i school, community hall and daycare identified several energy-saving opportunities, including the installation of heat pump systems and lighting retrofits.

On the supply side of the equation, in-depth analysis of the potential for renewable energy generation on Quatsino’s traditional territory confirmed that there are many viable opportunities, including several run-of-river hydropower projects, high-potential wind areas, solar photovoltaic potential and wave energy.

The plan outlines short-term, medium-term, long-term and ongoing implementation steps for energy-efficiency measures and renewable energy development. Quatsino anticipates launching the first phase of implementation in early 2020and is actively pursuing the funding required. A priority will be to conduct more home energy audits in response to increased community interest and install heat pumps and energy efficiency updates in residences and community buildings.

The development of renewable energy generation will require funding and a business case, such as a clean energy purchase agreement with the province. Quatsino’s ultimate goal is to create a revenue stream that is renewable, carbon-negative and beneficial to the community, allowing it to finance projects independently. It is pursuing this vision through its participation in the BC First Nations Clean Energy Group, an informal group of First Nations involved in the clean energy sector in BC.

Project details

  • Project: Community Energy Plan
  • Sector: Energy
  • Grant amount: $46,400.00
  • Lead entity: Quatsino First Nation

Primary objectives

  • Develop an energy plan that aligns with ongoing community planning and the values, goals and priorities of community members to guide energy-efficiency improvements and renewable energy development.
    • Establish a baseline and reduction targets for energy use and GHG emissions in the community.
    • Prioritize opportunities to increase energy efficiency in residences, community buildings, transportation and solid waste.
    • Prioritize opportunities to develop renewable energy in Quatsino’s traditional territory, including solar photovoltaic, run-of-river hydropower, wind and wave/tidal power.
    • Create an action plan.
  • Reduce energy costs for residents and improve the quality and comfort of homes and community buildings.
  • Identify potential economic development opportunities through renewable energy generation.
  • Increase energy literacy in the community.
  • Develop internal staff capacity to work on energy-efficiency and renewable energy development.

By the numbers

  • 24 residential EnergGuide audits completed
  • 10,072 kWh/year per home, on average, in energy-saving opportunities identified
  • $2,378 in estimated annual savings from initial energy-efficiency upgrades to 11 of the homes audited
  • ASHRAE Level 2 audits completed for 4 community buildings: the health centre, K’ak’ot’lats’i school, community hall and daycare
  • 66.3 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in potential emissions reductions if all recommendations in the plan are implemented

Project activities

  • Hold community planning meetings to define the scope of the community energy plan project and identify goals and priorities.
  • Complete energy audits of 24 residences and four community buildings, to learn about energy usage trends and identify energy-efficiency opportunities.
  • Gather information from existing community planning documents, three years of BC Hydro consumption data, and specialists in renewable energy generation. Consider the resources available and the priorities identified in other planning initiatives.
  • Establish a baseline for energy use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and forecast future energy demand, for residences, community buildings, transportation and solid waste.
  • Set community targets for reducing energy use and GHG emissions through energy-efficiency measures and transportation and waste modifications.
  • Identify energy-efficiency opportunities for residences and community buildings, calculate potential savings, and implement initial measures through BC Hydro’s Energy Conservation Assistance Program (ECAP).
  • Identify and assess renewable energy resources and their energy generation potential in Quatsino’s traditional territory, including:
    • an assessment of hydropower generation opportunities
    • a pre-feasibility study of solar photovoltaic resources
    • a wind resource assessment
    • a wave energy power analysis
  • Create a prioritized action plan for energy-efficiency improvements, GHG emission reductions and renewable energy development.
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