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First Nations launch clean-energy projects with provincial support

Press Release

March 13, 2019

VICTORIA – First Nations in B.C. continue to lead clean-energy projects in their communities as key partners in the Province’s CleanBC plan to reduce carbon pollution.

Fourteen Indigenous-driven projects received nearly $2.5 million in financial support from the Province through the First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund (FNCEBF) in 2018.

With its focus on reducing reliance on diesel generators and remote electrification, funding provided through the FNCEBF supports the Province’s commitment to put B.C. on the path to a cleaner future and help reduce dependence on fossil fuels and support the transition to clean energy for communities throughout the province.

The fund has been used to kick-start projects such as a solar farm to repurpose a derelict industrial site by the Tsilhqot’in National Government and a community energy plan to promote efficient energy consumption and savings by the Homalco First Nation.

The FNCEBF continues to support innovation within Indigenous communities through outreach, such as a $100,000 investment in the Indigenous Green Economy Conference in Vancouver March 13-14, 2019, where attendees will discuss new technology and how First Nations can pursue opportunities in the emerging green marketplace.

CleanBC investments in Budget 2019 include $18 million to work with Indigenous and remote communities to move to cleaner energy sources. These initiatives are in addition to the projects already announced.

Applications for the next First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund intake will be accepted until the end of May 2019.

Quotes:

Chief Joe Alphonse, Tsilhqot’in Tribal Chairman —

“Since having our Aboriginal title recognized, we have been looking for diverse opportunities within our territory. The development and operation of this solar farm is not only useful for the area, but also brings employment and training to our Nation. As a Nation, we have always said that to do business with us, you need to come through our doors and sit at the table in a meaningful way. The solar farm is a great example of that.”

Scott Fraser, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation —

“First Nations are moving forward with greener alternatives, such as solar, in meeting their energy needs. This work is an important part of our CleanBC strategy and supports self-determination. All of us in every area of the province have an important part to play in putting B.C. on a path that powers our future with clean, renewable energy and reduces air pollution.”

George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy —

“Whether solar, wind or other clean-energy sources, the replacement of diesel generation with clean energy through these projects will help us use less fossil fuels while generating new economic activity, new jobs and building our clean economy. It’s important that the opportunities of our CleanBC plan are accessible to all British Columbians. That’s how rural and Indigenous communities can share in a more prosperous, balanced and sustainable future.”

Michelle Mungall, Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources —

“The First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund helps to bring ideas, vision and innovation to reality to meet CleanBC goals. By transitioning to cleaner electricity options, Indigenous communities can become more energy efficient while creating local jobs and economic opportunities.”

Quick Facts:

  • The total annual budget is approximately $7.74 million for the First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund for 2019-20.
  • Since 2010, more than 110 First Nations have benefited from more than $10 million in capacity and equity funding.
  • The B.C. FNCEBF provides equity funding to First Nations up to $500,000 for clean-energy projects, up to $150,000 in equity funding toward community energy projects (energy-efficiency, demand-side management and small fuel-switching projects) and capacity funding up to $50,000. Capacity funding supports community energy planning, feasibility studies for developing clean-energy projects or engagement with private-sector clean-energy project proponents.

A backgrounder follows.

Learn More:

First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund: http://ow.ly/JPz530apMVd

CleanBC: www.cleanbc.ca

Indigenous Green Economy Conference: https://www.indigenousgreenenergy.com/

BACKGROUNDER

The First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund supported 14 Indigenous-driven projects in 2018, with $2.49 million invested in run-of-river hydropower, solar farms, energy-efficiency plans and numerous feasibility studies.

The fund, which focuses on providing support and access for remote communities to lessen reliance on diesel-generated power, provided funding for:

  • Dzawada’enuxw First Nation — $500,000 for construction of a hydropower plant to displace diesel generators in the community to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Ehattesaht First Nation ­— $500,000 to expand a hydroelectric plant and increase its 20% stake while paying down debt.
  • Hesquiaht First Nations — $500,000 for construction of a hydropower plant to reduce the use of diesel generators.
  • Tsilhqot’in National Government — $300,000 for redevelopment of an industrial brownfield into a solar farm, which will be the first and largest solar farm fully built, owned and operated by a First Nation in B.C.
  • Westbank First Nation — $150,000 for construction of a rooftop solar farm on its community school to offset utility costs by an estimated $12,000 annually.
  • West Moberly First Nations — $150,000 for construction of a biomass conversion project to make the Twin Sister Native Plant Nursery more energy efficient.
  • Homalco First Nation — $140,000 for implementation of a community energy plan to promote efficient energy consumption and savings.
  • Skidegate Band Council — $100,000 to support feasibility studies between the Skidegate Band Council and Old Masset Village Council to understand renewable resource potential on Haida Gwaii.
  • Penelakut Tribe — $30,000 to develop a community energy plan to inventory energy-related opportunities and identify energy-saving opportunities.
  • Lheidli T’enneh Band — $30,000 to develop a community energy management plan to educate community members about the value of clean-energy opportunities.
  • Tsal’alh First Nation — $30,000 to develop a community energy plan for a solar feasibility project that would reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Skatin Nation — $30,000 to develop a community energy management plan to find ways to decrease energy costs and investigate options for renewable energy.
  • Lytton First Nation — $15,000 to support a feasibility study for a solar-power learning lab to implement projects in the future.
  • N’Quatqua Band — $15,000 to support a feasibility study for the grid security of solar power storage. The goal is to reduce dependence on diesel generators.

Contact:Sarah Plank
Communications Director
Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation
250 208-9621

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