Spirit Bay, the new town being developed at Beecher Bay by the Sc’ianew First Nation, will be heated by the very body of water it overlooks.
A grant of $400,000 for what the province is touting as “a pioneering clean energy project that will harness ocean thermal energy” from the bay itself, was announced this week. The First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund grant will be given to the band for investment in a facility that will use the heat available – even that in cold ocean water – to supply heat to the community.
“Beecher Bay isn’t just the breathtaking waterfront view our residents will wake up to every morning, but the very source of power for everything throughout their daily lives at Spirit Bay,” said David Butterfield, co-founder of Trust for Sustainable Development, the Victoria-based company partnering with the band to build Spirit Bay.
“This ocean thermal project marks a milestone in the Spirit Bay development, as we lay the groundwork to power an entire town with only natural, sustainable and renewable energy.”
“Our people have relied on Beecher Bay for countless generations,” said Sc’ianew Chief Russ Chipps. “It provided energy in the form of food, and now it will provide energy in the form of heat. These lands, which have also given us so much, will be home to a new community sustained by the bay which will guarantee a bright future for our children and those who have not yet been born. Spirit Bay is for the future, and it is only fitting that this bay, a symbol of our past, will be vital for a prosperous future.”
The community is expected to be fully built over the next 10 years, and is expected to have more than 600 mixed residential units and a town centre with offices, shops and recreational facilities on its 40.5 hectares (100 acres) of land.
The $400,000 ocean thermal facility will be used to heat the first 50 homes of the community.
The facility will then expand as the community does and will be managed as a district heating utility.