Local project paying off

Three northwestern First Nations are profiting from a Dasque-Middle Creek hydro-electric project southwest of Terrace B.C.

  • Sun Jan 31st, 2016 8:00am
  • News

Three northwestern First Nations are profiting from a local hydro-electric project.

The three, Kitselas and Kitsumkalum here and Lax Kw’alaams on the coast, are receiving modest payments thanks to the Dasque-Middle Creek run-of-river hydro-electric project just southwest of Terrace.

To date the Kitselas have received $9,200, the Kitsumkalum $12,000 and the Lax Kw’alaams $22,700.

All three signed revenue sharing agreements with the province last s June, but backdated to 2012 when construction started.

Originally conceived by a small Vancouver company called Swift Power, the 20MW project is now owned by Calgary energy company Veresen which has a longterm contract to sell power to BC Hydro.

Of the money paid to the province, half goes into general revenue and half into its First Nations Clean Energy Fund and 75 per cent of that latter revenue is then divided up among affected First Nations based on traditional interests on the land on which a project is located.

How much each First Nation receives is based on a provincial formula taking in the population of a First Nation and its distance from a project.

With a larger population, Lax Kw’alaams is receiving just under half of the available revenue with Kitsumkalum receiving nearly 25 per cent and the Kitselas just under 19 per cent.

That leaves just under 10 per cent which would be going to another North Coast first nation, Metlakatla, but it has yet to sign a revenue sharing agreement with the province.

Commercial power production as of this May at Dasque-Middle Creek is later than expected with Veresen at first predicting a date in late 2014.

But low water levels in the fourth quarter of 2014 prevented it from accomplishing a 72-hour performance and reliability test called for in its sales contract with BC Hydro.

Veresen owns or has interests in pipelines, gas processing plants and power generating facilities, including wind, in Canada and the United States.

Its main project is a planned natural gas pipeline which would feed a liquefied natural gas plant on the Oregon coast.