Solar power to reduce diesel in Fort Chipewyan

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Fort Chipewyan is not connected to Alberta’s electricity grid and relies on burning diesel fuel for heat and power. To reduce diesel use in the northern community, the nations formed Three Nations Energy LP (3NE). With a $3.3-million grant from Alberta’s Climate Leadership Plan and in partnership with ATCO, 3NE will own and operate the largest off-grid solar-and-storage project in Canada.

“We are very proud to partner with Three Nations Energy and the community of Fort Chipewyan. In addition to reducing costs, this project helps make life better for residents by reducing pollution and increasing safety. This is just one of the many steps on the path of reconciliation our government is taking by empowering Indigenous peoples to own, develop and operate this project.”

Richard Feehan, Minister of Indigenous Relations

“By harnessing Alberta’s abundant solar resources, we can ensure northern communities no longer need to rely on diesel to heat and power their homes. This project is the largest in Canadian history to reduce diesel emissions by moving to solar power and storage. More importantly, it shows what can be accomplished when we work together to protect our environment.”

Shannon Phillips, Minister of Environment and Parks and Minister responsible for Climate Change

The solar photovoltaic system will consist of about 7,500 panels that, once completed, will replace the equivalent of 800,000 litres of diesel fuel for Fort Chipewyan – supplying roughly 25 per cent of the community’s energy use. It is anticipated that Fort Chipewyan will start generating solar energy in fall 2020.

The project will also reduce noise pollution in the area and make the winter roads safer due to reduced tanker truck traffic.

“While our regional economy depends on the oil industry, we feel the effects of climate change in our community and see the growing impacts on our delta lands. Our members want us to be part of the solution and we appreciate Alberta working with us to take a big step forward to cut pollution and protect the environment.”

Chief Allan Adam, Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation

“The Three Nations Energy solar farm project showcases our community’s shared vision of achieving energy sovereignty and becoming a leader in creating a climate-friendly economy. 3NE will work as one to build capacity and implement other projects in energy efficiency and green energy.”

Calvin Waquan, councillor, Mikisew Cree First Nation

“Three Nations Energy is about Indigenous Peoples working in partnership and collaborating with governments and private industry to protect the environment. Our solar farm will create local employment, increase our energy security and, over time, it can generate revenues to reinvest in our community.”

Kelly Piche, Fort Chipewyan Métis Local 125

ATCO is working closely with 3NE, supplying design, construction and operation services as well as ensuring local employment benefits. ATCO will also operate a complementary battery storage system that can store 1.5 MWh of power, extending the ability of the solar farm to replace diesel.

“ATCO is honoured and thrilled to partner with the community of Fort Chipewyan to implement an innovative clean energy microgrid solution. ATCO will build and operate the solar array and battery storage, significantly reducing diesel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions while creating jobs and building capacity for community ownership of the solar farm.”

Quyen Nguyen, vice-president, ATCO

Quick facts

  • The project will be completed in a phased approach.  
    • ATCO is installing a Phase 1 component of 400 kW (about 1,500 panels) this winter which ATCO will own, reducing diesel consumption by 150,000 litres per year.  
    • 3NE, supported by funding from the Government of Alberta, will own Phase 2, consisting of another 2,200 kW from 6,000 panels, which will reduce diesel consumption by an additional 650,000 litres per year.
  • The solar farm will have a generation capacity of 2.6 MW (2,600 kW) and an energy production of 3,200 MWh/year once Phase 2 is complete.
  • Construction will create 40 jobs at the 6.5-hectare site adjacent to Third Lake Plant.
  • The reduction in tanker trucks is roughly 25 large tanker truck trips each way, per year.
  • The project will cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2,170 tonnes CO2e per year.
  • The total project cost for the solar farm is $7.8 million, including the $3.3-million commitment from the Government of Alberta.


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Agricultural societies to cut costs and emissions

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Tim Carson (L), Debbie Ross, board president, and Minister Carlier visit in advance of the new grant announcement.

Agricultural societies operate more than 700 facilities across the province, including hockey rinks, curling rinks, community halls and facilities that serve rodeos and fairs. This new $10-million grant program will support technologies that help them reduce greenhouse gas emissions and facility operating cost, including improving lighting, heating, ventilation and rink/arena equipment.

“Alberta’s agricultural sector wants to do its part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This one-time investment will allow our agricultural societies to demonstrate environmental leadership, while continuing to enhance the quality of life in communities they serve.”

Oneil Carlier, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry

An estimated 260 agriculture societies that operate facilities will be eligible for the funding to help them with the more than 3,000 community activities they’re involved in each year, such as rodeos, fairs, farmers’ markets, 4-H activities, agriculture and farm safety education, and scholarships.

“Many of Alberta’s agricultural facilities are aging, and this grant will provide an opportunity to update buildings, improve energy efficiency and reduce increasing operating costs in the long term. Our ag societies, and these facilities, are essential to a high quality of life for Albertans, and this support helps relieve some of the rising financial pressure on societies so they can continue to do important work in their communities.”

Tim Carson, CEO, Alberta Association of Agricultural Societies

The program will be paid for through 2018-19 Climate Leadership Plan funds. Eligible initiatives under the grant program include retroactive and future activities that are measurable, increase energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, with results being reportable to the Alberta Climate Change Office.


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Free Family Day fun at Alberta parks and museums

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Children enjoy activities at the Frank Slide Interpretive Centre.

Free admission and special programming at provincial parks, museums and historic sites are yours to enjoy Monday, Feb. 18. Many facilities have activities and events for all ages throughout the long weekend.

“Spending time with family and friends is the most important part of Family Day. I can’t think of a better way to do so than exploring the many amazing places in our province. Free admission to heritage sites and museums makes Alberta’s culture and history accessible for everyone.”

Ricardo Miranda, Minister of Culture and Tourism

“Albertans love their provincial parks and the opportunity to connect with nature. This Family Day, Alberta Parks is thrilled to once again offer free, family-friendly activities. A provincial park is an hour away or less from most communities so I encourage everyone to get outside, enjoy the outdoors and make memories.”

Shannon Phillips, Minister of Environment and Parks

In 2018, more than 7,000 people enjoyed Family Day at provincial heritage facilities. This year, there are even more ways to discover something new.

Historic sites and museums

Nine provincial heritage facilities offer free admission for visitors on Feb.18. These include:

Oil Sands Discovery Centre – Fort McMurray

Come between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. for a day of do-it-yourself science. Try your hand at some exciting activities, crafts and experiments, all using materials you can find around the house. Make your own balloon launcher, discover the chemistry behind playdough and watch our live science show in the theatre for more fun ideas to try at home.

Royal Alberta Museum — Edmonton

Feed your curiosity from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Journey through millions of years of history and see thousands of objects, from dinosaurs and mammoths to tiny insects and glowing gems. See how Alberta’s Indigenous communities share knowledge and values through generations, and meet the people who shaped our province. Plus, visit thousands of live critters and have fun in our Children’s Gallery, complete with an archeological dig pit. Get ready to discover a history of Alberta you won’t find anywhere else.

 Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology – Drumheller

Special Family Day programming will be available all weekend. On Monday, enjoy a free presentation by Curator of Dinosaurs Donald Henderson, make your own cast of a fossil and watch as your kids learn, dig and create. Pre-registration is recommended for two hands-on programs being offered for a small fee: Dino Adventure Hour (ages three to six) and Fossil Casting (ages 4+).

Alberta Parks

Alberta provincial parks in winter are for more than just cross-country skiing. Try snowshoeing, fat tire biking, ice fishing, tobogganing, skating and downhill skiing, along with festivals, in Alberta’s most exciting season. The fun keeps going all year. Visit AlbertaParks.ca/events to find a list of upcoming events.

Here are a few events and activities for people looking to get outdoors this Family Day long weekend (Note all activities are weather permitting):

Crimson Lake Provincial Park – Rocky Mountain House

Find a whole day of outdoor fun and entertainment at the annual Crimson Lake Winterfest, starting at 11 a.m. Snowshoeing and ice fishing demonstrations are just a few of the activities to try out. Reduced camping rates let you fill your weekend with outdoor adventure.

William A. Switzer Provincial Park – Yellowhead County

A weekend full of events and activities starts Feb.17 with Ice Fishing Fun Day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. No experience required. Or enjoy free hotdogs, hot chocolate and coffee. Hinton’s annual French culture festival, Bonhomme Carnaval, kicks off on Feb.18 between noon and 4 p.m. There will be free cross-country skiing, free kick sleds and traditional French music. The Family Day Snowshoe Walk starts at 1 p.m. Snowshoes are provided, so just show up to enjoy this guided forest walk.

Family Fishing Weekend

The Family Day weekend also marks the first of two annual Family Fishing Weekends. You’re invited to head out and discover the lure of fishing without the need to buy a sportfishing licence. Of course, all regulations still apply. For more information, visit the Family Fishing Weekends website.

Family Day at the legislature

Albertans of all ages are invited to enjoy free family fun from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Family Day. Venture through the Lost in the Legislature History Hunt, take in musical and magical entertainment by world-class local performers, try out some crafts and listen to stories with Rocky the Ram. The Legislative Assembly Visitor Centre will have free exhibitions, educational activities and the immersive historical film Our People Our Province. A variety of food vendors will also be on site. More information at the Legislative Assembly Visitor Centre.

For a full list of events, visit the Alberta Culture and Tourism blog. Search for more events throughout the province by visiting the Travel Alberta website for packages and offers.


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New Filipino language curriculum being developed

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Premier Notley met with members of the Filipino community and announced development of a K-12 Filipino language and culture curriculum.

There are about 170,000 people of Filipino heritage in Alberta, and this new curriculum will help these children and youth connect with their heritage and culture. Expanding Filipino language and culture programming to students in kindergarten to Grade 12 follows community requests to improve Filipino language offerings in schools.   

“Alberta is a welcoming place made richer by its cultures and languages. As one of the largest and fastest-growing populations, the Filipino community has brought essential skills to our workforce and added so much to our social fabric. Creating a K-12 Filipino language and culture curriculum will ensure this vibrant community can continue to grow deep roots and make this province even greater.”

Rachel Notley, Premier

“Providing learning opportunities for students in a variety of language programs helps youth maintain their heritage, strengthen their cultural identity and build language and literacy skills. Strengthening language programs based on local need and demand can be an effective tool in addressing racism. In fact, this is one of the ways we’re acting on the feedback we heard, and commitments we made, in our government’s anti-racism consultations and report.”

David Eggen, Minister of Education

Filipino language and culture curriculum is currently offered at the high school level as a locally developed course in some school jurisdictions, including Calgary Catholic School District, Edmonton Catholic Schools and St. Thomas Aquinas Roman Catholic Schools. After the new K-12 Filipino curriculum is developed, Alberta Education officials will work with stakeholders and community partners to identify resources to support the curriculum.

“The official declaration of having the Filipino heritage language in the curriculum of Alberta schools is a historic gift by the Alberta government to the Filipino community. This strongly demonstrates the respect for a culture’s diversity and uniqueness through its language. Programs like this instill pride in students and their heritage, and results in active and engaged citizens.”

Dolly Castillo, Filipino community leader

Quick facts

  • The K-12 Filipino language and culture curriculum will not be mandatory. School authorities have choice and flexibility in offering language programming that best meets the needs of the communities they serve.
  • Besides English and French, 26 languages are currently available for study in Alberta, including American Sign Language, Arabic, Blackfoot, Cantonese, Chinese, Cree, Dene, Filipino, German, Greek, Gujarati; Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latin, Nakoda/Dakota, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Tsuut’ina and Ukrainian.


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