This Indigenous-Owned Solar Installation Near the Tar Sands Shows the Future

Solar panels on grass

The province of Alberta is likely best known internationally for its world-destroying tar sands, but in the province there’s a push by citizens to create a sustainable economy. On the north end of the tar sands exists a new solar installation owned by local indigenous groups. The installation functions first and foremost as a source of power for a small town, but it serves as a symbol of a clean future that leaves the destruction of the fossil fuel industries behind. The independence and cost savings that the installation brings are nice too!

The project is owned by Three Nations Energy, a joint venture of the Mikisew Cree First Nation, Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation and the Fort Chipewyan Métis Association, all located in the hamlet of Fort Chipewyan.

The 5,760 solar panels will supply the remote northeast Alberta community with around 25 per cent of its energy needs, the company says.

Before the solar farm, Fort Chipewyan’s roughly 1,000 residents got their energy from the ATCO-owned diesel power station, which every year burns three million litres of fuel trucked in on ice roads or delivered by river barge.

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