BluEarth Renewables Inc. is demonstrating First Nation industry collaboration with the creation of renewable energy and jobs around the province. With a focus on sustainability, BluEarth has successfully developed wind, run-of-river hydroelectric, and solar generation projects across North America.
Currently, BluEarth has three completed projects in B.C. The newest one is at Culliton Creek where they worked with the Squamish Nation to build a 15 megawatt (MW) run-of-river hydroelectric project. Through the construction phase of the project, 13 per cent of all workers were First Nations and they contributed over 220,000 man hours to the project.
“One of the most important aspects of any project is our engagement with members of the surrounding communities,” said Grant Arnold, President and CEO. “We work very hard to foster relationships with these communities, ensure we always follow through on our commitments, and actively seek an understanding of any perceived issues.”
A fourth project, happening in the Narrows Inlet, is another hydroelectric project located within shíshálh Nation territory approximately 75 km northwest of Vancouver. The Project consists of three small-hydro generating stations and will have the capacity to generate 33 MW. That is enough power to run 12,980 homes.
During the peak of construction, this project will have 150 – 200 workers, and the goal is to maximize the number of workers from shíshálh. To help ensure there are enough skilled workers, the Project has had a number of training courses and job fairs. Work will be ramping up over the next several months.
BluEarth has recently launched this year’s Aboriginal Clean Energy Scholarship (ACES). The scholarships provide as much as $3,000 for up to four First Nations, Métis or Inuit students pursuing a post-secondary education in disciplines that are transferable to the clean energy sector. Successful candidates have opportunities for either an internship or a mentorship program where they are partnered with a BluEarth team member.
“We are honoured that the First Nations we’ve worked with in British Columbia have agreed to share their land and resources. We have been able to come together on the basis of common values to create open and prosperous relationships and that means a lot to us as an organization.”