Rural and Remote Power Generation: A Case Study of Energy Systems Integration in Xeni Gwet’in Community

The Conference Board of Canada, February 19, 2019
Recorded Webinar
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Up to 300 remote communities spread across Canada have no connection to the North American electrical grid or its natural gas distribution pipelines. For the 200,000 persons living in these off-grid communities, obtaining access to affordable electricity is a constant challenge. These communities include indigenous settlements, villages or cities, as well as commercial outposts and camps for mining, fishing, and forestry activities. These communities rely mostly on locally generated electricity, usually supplied by expensive fossil-fuel generators. The situation inhibits the economic growth of these communities and can lead to adverse environmental impacts, leaving them vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

In the context of identifying unique cross-cutting solutions that can enable a clean energy growth economy in Canada’s rural and remote communities, this recorded webinar highlights the example of Xeni Gwet’in. This indigenous community in south-central British Columbia, has developed leading-edge solar, hydrocarbon fuels, and battery storage energy systems integration technology that is delivering cleaner, affordable and reliable electricity to inhabitants.

Webinar Highlights

During this 60-minute recorded webinar we learn about the hybrid systems integration of renewable and non-renewable energy sources at the micro level, as a potential pathway to a cleaner, reliable, low-cost and environmentally sustainable energy generation and economic growth for Canada's Remote Communities. Our presenter, George Colgate, provides some interesting insights including:

  • Facts about the Solar PV—Hydrocarbon Fuel—Battery Storage Hybrid Technology: Including a review of Xeni’s terrain and energy needs, experience with the initial pilot hybrid systems, description of the system components, grants and funding for the project, general project design and implementation.
  • Insights on Performance and Reliability: Including power generation and storage capabilities, performance metrics, and overall reliability and capacity of the system.
  • Evidence on Socio-economic and Environmental Impact: Including information on number of homes are powered by the system; resource-efficiency; energy cost savings to the community; projected reduction in greenhouse gases; short-term job creation through the project; impact on community well-being etc.

About George

Photo of George ColgateGeorge Colgate, before retiring in the fall of 2009, was the manager of Xeni Gwet’in Enterprise, a subsidiary of the Xeni Gwet’in First Nations Government. Mr. Colgate founded the ‘Enterprise’ in 1994 for managing the First Nations existing infrastructure assets, constructing new assets, providing economic development opportunities and developing renewable energy resources in order to help the First Nation attain their goal of energy self-sufficiency.

As manager of Xeni Gwet’in Enterprise, Mr Colgate was involved with a number of renewable energy projects, including a Community Energy Plan, a 400 kWp micro hydro feasibility study, a 28 kWp Photo Voltaic (PV) installation which currently supplies electrical energy into the local diesel electric micro grid, and the development of PV/propane hybrid electrical systems for 6 individual Xeni Gwet’in residences. Since 1990, Mr. Colgate has also maintained his own off-grid residence with electrical energy produced from Photo Voltaic panels.

Prior to moving to the Xeni Gwet’in community in 1976, Mr. Colgate was employed as a mechanical engineer in the cement and concrete industry. He currently resides on his ranch in Nemiah Valley and continues to provide part time technical and administrative consulting services to several isolated communities as well as managing capital projects for the Xeni Gwet’in First Nations Government.

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