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Province supports clean energy projects in central First Nations communities

Six central First Nations communities are receiving $1.15 million for clean energy projects as part of a funding partnership between the Province of British Columbia, Government of Canada and New Relationship Trust.

“Through CleanBC, we are collaborating with New Relationship Trust and Western Economic Diversification Canada on the British Columbia Indigenous Clean Energy Initiative (BCICEI) to support First Nations-led clean energy and energy efficiency projects,” said Bruce Ralston, B.C.’s Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources. “Together, we are providing important funding to Indigenous communities throughout B.C. to develop projects that will help them achieve energy independence, support economic development and reduce reliance on diesel.”

Projects include:

  • the Tlingit Homeland Energy Ltd. Partnership in Atlin is receiving $250,000 for work on a hydro energy generation upgrade project;
  • the Xeni Gwet’in First Nations Government in Nemiah Valley, Williams Lake is receiving $250,000 for a solar micro-grid connection project;
  • the Lhoosk’uz Déné in Kluskus Lake is receiving $300,000 for a combined heat and power biomass project;
  • the Dease River First Nation in Good Hope Lake is receiving $50,000 for a biomass feasibility study;
  • the Tobacco Plains Indian Band in Grasmere is receiving $150,000 for a solar photovoltaic (PV) and battery storage installation; and
  • the Lower Nicola Indian Band in Merritt is receiving $150,000 for a solar PV installation.

Funding from the BCICEI supports the planning of clean energy generation projects, such as hydro, wind, biomass, solar, marine and geothermal projects. The BCICEI also targets energy efficiency projects and energy storage. Among its target communities, it specifically seeks to assist remote communities wherever possible in reducing dependency on fossil fuels.

Funding to communities through the BCICEI will be used for feasibility and site selection, environmental review and permitting, and project design and engineering. This allows First Nations’ clean energy and energy efficiency projects to proceed to the next step of implementation and construction when additional funding is secured.

In total, 13 communities throughout the province are receiving almost $2.8 million from the BCICEI.

Through programs like the BCICEI and Remote Community Clean Energy Strategy, the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources is supporting communities to develop expertise and experience in energy efficiency and clean energy generation.

CleanBC is a pathway to a more prosperous, balanced and sustainable future. CleanBC was developed in collaboration with the BC Green Party caucus and Andrew Weaver, MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head, and supports the commitment in the Confidence and Supply Agreement to implement climate action to meet B.C.’s emission targets.

Quotes:

Scott Fraser, B.C.’s Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation –

“Many Indigenous communities throughout B.C. are leading the way in developing clean energy alternatives, especially when it comes to reducing reliance on diesel generators in remote areas. Together, we are working toward a low-carbon future for all of British Columbia. Funding through the BCICEI and other programs like the First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund will help us reach that goal, while supporting First Nations to continue building strong, healthy and resilient communities.”

Walter Schneider, chief executive officer, New Relationship Trust (NRT) –

“The NRT is proud to have a role in an important initiative for First Nations in B.C. In the era of reconciliation, it is a collaborative effort to achieve economic growth and advance First Nations clean energy needs while contributing toward the energy transition that will have positive legacy impacts for generations to come. The unique Indigenous-led BCICEI model will hopefully inspire further partnerships between governments, industry and First Nations.”

Mélanie Joly, federal Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada –

“The British Columbia Indigenous Clean Energy Initiative is an incredible project that will help advance reconciliation, fight the climate crisis and create jobs and opportunities for Indigenous peoples. Green technologies are vital to the future of our communities, our economy and our planet, and I’m excited to see the difference this initiative will make for First Nations across B.C.”

Marc Miller, federal Minister of Indigenous Services –

“The Government of Canada is supporting Indigenous-led clean energy projects through the BC Indigenous Clean Energy Initiative. Not only do these projects contribute to creating economic opportunities in First Nations communities, but they are helping to fight climate change and move Canada towards a cleaner and greener future.”

Doug Donaldson, MLA for Stikine –

“As part of our reconciliation focus, our government is prioritizing working with First Nations to deliver clean energy solutions. This investment is great news for communities that will be better equipped to tackle climate change on the local level.”

Quick Facts:

  • The BCICEI has invested more than $3.5 million to fund 31 projects, including 10 in remote, off-grid or diesel-dependent communities.
  • These investments have leveraged more than $37.2 million — including $11.7 million in Indigenous equity — to finance hydro, solar, geothermal, bioenergy and innovative demand side management projects throughout British Columbia.
  • Launched in 2016 and renewed in 2019, the BCICEI is a partnership between Western Economic Diversification Canada, the Province of British Columbia and the New Relationship Trust. Through Indigenous Services Canada’s Strategic Partnership Initiative, the Government of Canada has invested $4.5 million in renewed funding over three years towards the BCICEI, in addition to the original $4.2 million investment. Since the renewal, the Province has committed $5 million through the CleanBC Plan toward the BCICEI over the same period.

Learn More:

Read more about the 13 BCICEI projects from the New Relationship Trust: https://www.newrelationshiptrust.ca/news/

For a list of funding opportunities for clean energy projects led by Indigenous Nations and local governments, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/farming-natural-resources-and-industry/electricity-alternative-energy/community-energy-solutions/funding_opportunities_clean_community_energy_bc.pdf

Find out more about CleanBC: https://cleanbc.gov.bc.ca/

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