Tahltan buy into run-of-river hydro project

Province is providing $500,000 for stake in AltaGas project in northern B.C.

THE PROVINCIAL government is giving the Tahltan Central Council $500,000 to buy into a small run-of-river project on the Iskut River owned by Calgary-based energy company AltaGas.

The Volcano Creek project, rated at 16 megawatts, has just begun producing power which is being sold to BC Hydro, entering the provincial grid through the crown corporation’s Northwest Transmission Line.

Provincial and Tahltan officials were in Terrace this morning releasing details of the business deal through the First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund which will see the Tahltan earn a share of the revenues being paid by BC Hydro for the power through a 60-year purchase agreement with AltaGas.

The ownership stake is in addition to separate deals the Tahltan have signed with the provincial government for a share of the water rentals being paid by AltaGas for all three of its Iskut River run-of-river projects.

In addition to the Volcano Creek project, the 195 megawatt Forrest Kerr project began producing power into the provincial grid through the Northwest Transmission Line in the summer and the McClymont Creek project of between 50 and 75 megawatts is still under construction.

The Forrest Kerr project represents $1.1 million to the Tahltan annually from water rentals and the Volcano Creek project represents $3,000 per year.

As well, the Tahltan have also signed separate economic benefits agreements with AltaGas for its three projects.

Tahltan Central Council president Chad Day was in Terrace along with vice president Heather Hawkins, Iskut band manager Feddie Louie and Iskut band councillor Paul Louie. Day exchanged gifts with Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation minister John Rustad at an event held in the Best Western Hotel.

The provincial government so far has only provided money to the Tahltan under the clean energy business fund for an equity stake in the Volcano Creek project.

The limit for equity participation is $500,000 per project per First Nation.