Archived News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

November 13, 2015

Province Expands Geothermal Heating on First Nations

$150,000 For Aki Energy, Green Jobs: Premier Selinger

The Manitoba government will provide $150,000 in support for Aki Energy, allowing it to expand its geothermal energy program to a total of six First Nations in the province and create green jobs and lower utility bills for on reserve housing, Premier Greg Selinger announced today.

“Bringing clean, green energy to First Nations communities is an urgent need, both from an environmental and an economic perspective.  We’d like to see this model expanded to all First Nations, helping with green job creation, renewable and clean energy, and climate-change leadership,” said Premier Selinger.  “Manitoba’s willingness to work with First Nations on building the green economy together is something Manitobans can be very proud of.”

Currently, 350 houses on four First Nations have been retrofitted with geothermal systems which cut space heating costs by more than 40 per cent.  The cost of converting a home to geothermal is about $17,500 and these costs are financed by Manitoba Hydro.  A portion of the savings are used to pay Hydro back over time.  The savings in utility bills outweigh the financing costs, meaning that utility bills for the rate payers are lower, the premier said.

“This important investment will allow Aki Energy to connect two additional First Nations with Manitoba Hydro’s Pay As You Save program, for a total of six communities”, said Darcy Wood, executive director, Aki Energy.  “We’ll begin the consultation, selection, community engagement and training process right away so we are ready for the 2016 construction season.”

In addition, Aki Energy will work with up to three other communities to install two biomass projects and a pilot project for roof-top solar energy.  Sagkeeng First Nation and Long Plain First Nation both started geothermal operations this year, completing a combined total of 30 geothermal installations.

“We are excited to be installing geothermal equipment, so that 18 families can benefit from significantly reduced utility bills this year,” said Chief Dennis Meeches, Long Plain First Nation.  “Involving local crews in the installation means creating green jobs in our community.”

The Power Smart Pay As You Save (PAYS) financing program provides Manitoba Hydro residential customers with a convenient option for completing energy efficient upgrades to their homes while keeping upfront costs and future monthly finance payments as small as possible. 

“Manitoba Hydro is pleased to be working with Aki Energy and the partnering First Nation communities,” said Lloyd Kuczek, vice-president, customer care and energy conservation, Manitoba Hydro.  “The success of the programs being managed by Aki Energy complements our overall efforts to aggressively capture energy savings in both First Nation communities and other communities throughout Manitoba.”

This new funding supports TomorrowNow – Manitoba’s Green Plan, an eight-year plan that supports environmental protection while ensuring sustainable prosperity for future generations.

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