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Clean Energy Powers Bella Coola, B.C.

published: 2010-09-13 16:01

The Hydrogen Assisted Renewable Power (HARP) project in Bella Coola, British Columbia is now officially installed and operational. This state-of-the-art energy storage project securely powers the remote community of Bella Coola with less environmental impact. The HARP system is expected to reduce Bella Coola’s annual diesel consumption by 200,000 litres – lowering greenhouse gas emissions by 600 tons annually.

The project is a partnership between BC Hydro, GE and Powertech and is supported by the province of B.C. and Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC).The Honourable Stockwell Day, President of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, alongside John Rustad, MLA, Nechako Lakes and Chief Spencer Siwallace from the Nuxalk Nation, commissioned the project at a community event in Bella Coola.

“Our Government is working to position Canada as the world’s foremost clean energy superpower,” said the Honourable Stockwell Day. “With investments like GE’s groundbreaking Renewable Microgrid Systems, our Government is helping Canadians living in remote communities to be less dependent on fossil fuels. Through this project, we are stimulating Canada’s green economy, creating jobs and helping protect the environment.”

Bella Coola is located about 400 kilometres north of Vancouver. Due to its remote location, Bella Coola is not connected to BC Hydro’s provincial electricity grid. Until now, the community has been powered by greenhouse gas-emitting diesel generators and by a run-of- river power facility which, while generating clean electricity, had no way of storing it. The HARP system features energy storage technologies to store energy from the run-of-river power facility, reducing the dependence on diesel generators. GE’s microgrid controller automatically responds to changes in supply and demand – ensuring energy is managed efficiently. The result is a cleaner, smarter, more efficient power generation system and community.

“This project is a great example of how we can use innovation and technology to strengthen B.C.’s clean energy future,” said Bill Bennett, Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources. ”Thanks to BC Hydro’s commitment to helping remote communities acquire clean power and Bella Coola’s commitment to an efficient supply of electricity, we are setting an example for the rest of the country.”

“GE’s smart grid technologies are designed to help solve the world’s toughest energy challenges,” said Larry Sollecito, vice president, smart grid for GE’s Digital Energy business. “With our microgrid control solution powering the HARP system, we’re able to make sustainability a reality. We applaud Bella Coola for embracing innovation and being a model for remote communities around the globe.”

"Powertech's expertise in the clean technology industry has been instrumental in developing the HARP energy storage system for the Bella Coola demonstration project," said Dave Cobb, President and CEO of BC Hydro. "This project is just one example of the testing and measuring capabilities available through Powertech's highly qualified team of engineers and technical experts. It is through these types of business and community partnerships that clean energy solutions are made possible in B.C."

“This project could have a significant impact on the everyday lives of Canadians who live in remote communities,” said SDTC president and CEO Vicky J. Sharpe. “By using clean technologies and a microgrid instead of diesel-powered generators, communities such as Bella Coola will be a lot less dependent on fossil fuels, therefore greatly reducing both their greenhouse gas emissions and their energy costs.”

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