About Three Nations Energy
3NE is an equal partnership of three Fort Chipewyan Nations – the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, the Mikisew Cree First Nation, and Fort Chipewyan Metis Association. Two leaders from each of the three Nations represent the 3NE Board of Directors. These three Nations have come together to own and operate a 2.2 MW solar farm in Fort Chipewyan. 3NE continues to work together to bring more green energy projects to the people of Fort Chipewyan.
WHO ARE WE
Jointly owned by the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, the Mikisew Cree First Nation, and the Fort Chipewyan Metis Association, Three Nations Energy GP Inc. was created in 2018 to bring clean, low carbon, affordable and reliable electricity to the community of Fort Chipewyan … and … to create a strong and efficient vehicle for indigenous ownership and operation of green energy solutions. We simply call ourselves “3NE”. The ABOUT 3NE Section of this website provides more background on each of our Nations, our journey in clean energy and sustainability action, and introduces you to our Board, our Management team, and how we do business.
The catalyst for creating 3NE was a mix of factors, including:
- The growing threat to Fort Chipewyan’s energy security with climate change regularly shortening the diesel fuel hauling season on the winter ice road;
- Direction from Leaders, Elders, and many other members including our young people, to act where we can to protect the climate and more broadly, the environment;
- A shared desire to meet growing demands for electricity in the community with the least-cost energy solutions over the long term, and avoid costs of adding more diesel tank storage, and burning more fuel – creating more greenhouse gas emissions;
- Opportunities to work with both the Government of Canada and the Government of Alberta to demonstrate and implement indigenous action on climate change and renewable energy as a viable solution for remote communities; and
- Leadership and genuine partnership opportunities developed with ATCO – the established electricity provider for our remote, isolated community power grid.
CANADA’s LARGEST REMOTE COMMUNITY SOLAR FARM
Our foundational project – The Three Nations Energy (3NE) solar farm is a $7.76 million project with a capacity of 2.2 Megawatts. Together with another 0.4 Megawatts of solar capacity (on an adjacent farm owned by ATCO and just completed in 2019) this system is connected to a 1.5 Megawatt Hour state-of-the-art battery system and will supply Fort Chipewyan with some 3,200 Megawatt-hours of electricity each year, displacing more than 800,000 litres of diesel fuel annually. That’s a 25% reduction in diesel consumption and associated greenhouse gas emissions, and we are only getting started! When completed by November 2020, this system will be the largest solar PV system in a remote Canadian community.
The 3NE Solar Farm site occupies nearly 8 hectares of land immediately south of the ATCO Third Lake Generating Station near the Fort Chipewyan airport. It consists of our 6,000 ground-mounted solar photovoltaic panels, plus ATCO’s phase one of 1,500 panels, along with inverters and control systems. Electricity produced will be purchased by ATCO and will be distributed throughout the community via the local electricity distribution grid under one of the first Alberta Utility Commission Approvals issued in compliance with the 2019 Alberta Community Generation Regulation. Through its partnership with ATCO, the project will avoid future tank farm expansion costs to the local community and the Alberta ratepayer.
The 3NE SOLAR FARM Section of this website has more on the technical specs, the project timeline, and the construction story, (and regulatory details, if you care about that stuff !).
EMPLOYMENT, and INVOLVEMENT
Despite all the challenges of our remote location, a drastically shortened and delayed winter road season in 2020, and COVID-19 emergency responses, solar farm construction is on schedule, under budget, and delivering on the promises of meaningful employment and capacity building for our members. For details on current employment opportunities, volunteer positions, upcoming community events, gatherings, workshops, and ways to get involved or provide community member input check out the JOBS & MORE Section.
MORE THAN a SOLAR FARM …
Of equal importance, 3NE now serves as a catalyst for collaboration around a growing suite of green energy and sustainable economic development initiatives among our three Nations, as well as between our Nations and Governments of Canada, Alberta, and the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. See the COMMUNITY PROJECTS Section and our NEWS stories for more on our Sustainable Community Energy Plans, our other joint-venture 3NE Green Energy projects as well as our independent but parallel energy efficiency and green energy programs that each Nation is undertaking with the benefit of coordination and economies of scale supported by 3NE and community green energy teams.
LEARNING and SHARING
Finally, the key to the 3NE vision and mission is continuous learning, education, training, and building capacity for our own community members. Check out the LEARNING RESOURCES Section. We are honoured and happy to share what we know (and what we are learning) with First Nations and Remote Communities across the North, and across Canada with other Nations, indigenous organizations, communities, co-operatives, municipalities or schools who also want to act to protect the environment, lower greenhouse gas emissions, build their own sustainable economies and energy security, and help lead the way to a sustainable and socially-just future for all.
We are also happy to learn from YOU and hear more about your successes and learning, or your ideas.