Fort Nelson First Nation-Owned Tu Deh-Kah Geothermal Project: A Socio-economic Study

  • Author / Creator
    Chitsaz, Sara
  • As global greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase, there is a growing focus on low-carbon initiatives, specifically renewable alternatives to conventional fossil fuels for energy production. Transitions to renewable energy sources may occur across scales, including community-scale energy production. As technologies develop, there is a gap in academic literature on the local-scale impacts and factors involved in community-level renewable energy projects.

    Northern British Columbia is one of the last remaining regions of the province that is reliant on fossil fuels for electricity production. The Clarke Lake gas field, a depleted gas field in the territory of the Fort Nelson First Nation (FNFN), has been identified as having potential for viable geothermal energy production. The Fort Nelson First Nation initiated the Tu Deh-Kah (TDK) geothermal project in 2019 in the Clarke Lake field – one of the first commercial scale geothermal energy projects to be developed in Canada. As a fully First Nation-owned project, TDK is a unique example of Indigenous community energy in the context of Canada as a settler-colonial state.

    This research aims to provide baseline data for the TDK project through original survey and interview data, and census data analysis. This thesis outlines a range of perspectives and expected outcomes of the TDK project as identified by FNFN community members, as well as social and economic indicators for the regional context of the project. Results demonstrate how the social and economic effects of boom-and-bust cycles or loss of industry in resource-dependent communities may be visible in some quantitative indicators, in this case in labour force participation rates. The high value of potential career and skill development opportunities for local community members through the TDK project is a key finding of this thesis. Results of this research may be used for future assessment of TDK’s outcomes and impacts in its local context.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2023
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.