The Government of British Columbia announced on June 9 that it will contribute $400,000 through the First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund to finance a pioneering clean energy project that will harness ocean thermal energy to heat Spirit Bay, a new Sci’anew (Cheanuh) Beecher Bay Band development.

“Our people have relied on Beecher Bay for countless generations,” said Beecher Bay Band Chief Russ Chipps. “It provided energy in the form of food, and now it will provide energy in the form of heat. These lands, which have also given us so much, will be home to a new community sustained by the bay which will guarantee a bright future for our children and those who have not yet been born. Spirit Bay is for the future, and it is only fitting that this bay, a symbol of our past, will be vital for a prosperous future.”

The heat available in the cold ocean water will be extracted using heat exchangers and pumps and delivered to Spirit Bay through a district heating system, which will expand as the community grows. The heating system will create additional revenue for current and future band members, and will provide a reliable, low-maintenance heating source for the residents of the new community.

“This ocean thermal project marks a milestone in the Spirit Bay development, as we lay the ground work to power an entire town with only natural, sustainable renewable energy,” said David Butterfield, co-founder of the Trust for Sustainable Development, who partnered with the Beecher Bay First Nation in developing Spirit Bay. “Beecher Bay isn’t just the breathtaking waterfront view our residents will wake up to every morning, but the very source of power for everything throughout their daily lives at Spirit Bay.”

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Photo Credit: Province of British Columbia Flickr

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