PORT McNEILL—The ‘Namgis First Nation built the KUTERRA closed-containment fish farm with the intent of proving Atlantic salmon could be grown on land both sustainably and economically, while also busting a few myths about land-based fish farming.
One of those alleged myths, exorbitant power costs, may consider itself busted.
BC Hydro this week presented KUTERRA directors and ‘Namgis Chief Bill Cranmer a cheque for $143,000 through its Power Smart incentive program, recognizing a series of energy efficiency measures taken by the farm expected to reduce its power use by about 1,000 megawatt hours each year.
“We are delighted that BC Hydro’s Power Smart program recognizes our energy-efficient operation,” said Cranmer. “Our mission for the KUTERRA farm is to show there’s a strong business case for growing Atlantic salmon on land. Energy efficiency with low energy cost is an important part of the business case.”
The cheque was presented Monday at the farm by Joanna Sofield, BC Hydro’s general manager of Customer Care and Power Smart. Her visit was part of a tour that included KUTERRA directors, other BC Hydro personnel and staff and directors from the Regional District of Mount Waddington.
“Sustaining wild salmon stocks is important to First Nations in British Columbia, and through KUTERRA, the ‘Namgis First Nation are pioneering a new process which has the added benefit of using less electricity,” Sofield read from prepared remarks. “The project also provides our Power Smart industrial customer with the economic benefit of achieving additional energy savings.”
Those savings are projected to cut KUTERRA’s annual electricity bill by more than 70 per cent. Among the measures taken by the farm, which utilizes recirculation aquaculture system (RAS) technology are: recapturing and reusing heat from the ground, the air and equipment operation; employing heat pumps and radiant coil elements to efficiently maintain tank temperatures; and installation of high-grade insulation.
The savings realized by the efficiencies are the equivalent of powering 100 homes annually, Sofield told Monday’s tour group.
The Power Smart funding is part of $1.6 billion in investments over the duration of BC Hydro’s 10-year rate plan.
“Moving forward, we need to continue with energy conservation and efficiency as a resource option and to help customers save money,” said Bill Bennett, Minister of Energy and Mines. “This project is a good example of how innovation can reduce electricity use and operating costs.”