Klahoose Wilderness Resort

Small West Coast First Nation fuels economic growth with clean energy

National Observer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The Klahoose Nation is charged up over a new clean energy project that both protects the environment and fuels economic development. 

A new micro-hydroelectric project at the Klahoose Wilderness Resort on B.C.’s isolated Central Coast will eliminate diesel fuel use at the off-grid, eco-tourist destination, removing 38 tonnes of carbon emissions annually, said Bruno Pereira. 

“The project ticks all the boxes for us,” said Pereira, general manager of Qathen Xwegus Management Corporation, the economic development arm of the Klahoose Nation. 

The new system will rely on a nearby creek to drive a Pelton wheel, or small turbine, that will generate up to 12 kilowatts, tripling the resort’s energy generation while also providing battery storage of energy to meet electrical demand during peak consumption. 

The project reflects the Klahoose Nation’s values of harmonizing its economic interests with stewardship of the environment, Pereira said. 

“This fits exactly with the way we see how business should be run,” he said. 

“Being a First Nations corporation, we also have that responsibility of being a curator of nature. 

“It’s very important that we try to cut our carbon footprint as much as possible, and this was a perfect project for us.” 

The Klahoose — a small nation based on Cortes Island off the east coast of Vancouver Island — got a $203,876 grant from the province’s First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund, which aims to boost participation of Indigenous communities in B.C.’s clean energy sector.

In addition to being environmentally friendly, the renewable energy project just makes good business sense, Pereira said. 

The resort can offer a few more amenities to its clients, but it also means saving the thousands upon thousands of dollars spent on diesel to generate electricity, he said. 

And not having diesel barged to the resort reduces shipping emissions and the risk of oil spills in the pristine wilderness that the Klahoose depend on to attract tourists eager to see the region’s bears, whales and other wildlife, Pereira said. 

The small, clean energy system is also likely to become an attraction for resort guests, who tend to be environmentally conscious, he added.

But sustainable development by the Klahoose isn’t a marketing plan, he said.  It reflects a core belief that they are interconnected with the natural world and have the responsibility to protect it, he said. 

“We don’t have to need to invent anything,” he said. 

“We just need to find ways to convey what we do … emphasize we are in sync with the environment and try to have the smallest carbon footprint we can.” 

Top image credit: The off-grid Klahoose Wilderness Resort will eliminate 38 tonnes of emissions with its new micro-hydroelectricity project – Photo courtesy of Klahoose Wilderness Resort

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