The Province is increasing funding for First Nations clean-energy projects by approximately $2.1 million over three years as part of its commitment to action on climate change.
The funding will be prioritized to help remote Aboriginal communities not connected to the BC Hydro grid to end their reliance on diesel-powered generators. Funding approved for remote communities will be contingent on matching federal funding.
It is part of the Province’s legislated target to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and create a clean-energy supply.
The new funding will be administered under the First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund, which helps Aboriginal communities identify clean-energy solutions and jumpstart construction of viable projects.
The clean-energy fund, in existence since 2010, has helped remote and other B.C. First Nations reduce their reliance on fossil fuels. Kwadacha Nation is an excellent example that demonstrates the success of the fund.
Kwadacha Nation is a remote Fort Ware community 570 kilometres north of Prince George. The community was awarded $400,000 in equity funding under the business fund. The funding provided support towards a combined heat-and-power bioenergy system intended to offset diesel generation.
Heat generated by the system will be used for a district energy system, while electricity generated will be sold to BC Hydro under a 20-year Electricity Purchase Agreement. Kwadacha Nation has also received $150,000 toward the project from the Province’s Community Energy Leadership Program.
John Rustad, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation –
“It is a testament to the success of the First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund that we are able to provide additional funding based on the actual revenue from eligible projects. This new funding can be used to help more Aboriginal communities reduce their greenhouse-gas emissions, while also becoming self-sufficient.”
Colleen Giroux-Schmidt, senior director, Innergex Renewable Energy, and chair, Clean Energy BC Board of Directors –
“We have seen first-hand the benefits that a clean-energy project can bring to First Nations communities and the enabling role that the First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund plays. We look forward to continuing to work collaboratively with governments, First Nations, industry and other stakeholders to develop renewable energy solutions and policies in a way that meets climate objectives and future energy needs.”
Chief Donny Van Somer, Kwadacha Nation –
“The First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund was instrumental in kick-starting the Kwadacha Nation’s Biomass Community Energy System and helping us move away from diesel generation for heat and power. We ran off diesel for too long and this project brings some much-needed infrastructure to our very remote community. It also created a few much-needed jobs and is a step closer to our vision of self-sustainability.”
- The B.C. First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund provides equity funding to First Nations:
- up to $500,000 for clean-energy projects;
- up to $150,000 in equity funding toward energy-efficiency projects (also known as demand-side management); and
- capacity funding up to $50,000. Capacity funding supports feasibility studies for developing clean-energy projects or engagement with private-sector clean-energy project proponents.
- Since the fund was introduced in 2010, more than 110 First Nations communities have benefited from nearly $8.2 million in capacity and equity funding. Funding has supported the development of First Nations clean-energy projects in areas such as geoexchange, wind energy, biomass, run-of-river hydroelectric power, clean-energy planning and other clean-energy-related areas.
- The fund also provides First Nations with revenue-sharing agreements that allow them to receive a portion of water and land rents charged by the Province for new clean-energy projects.
- If an eligible clean-energy project site is on a traditional territory, First Nations may be eligible for a revenue-sharing agreement. Thirty-four B.C. First Nations communities benefit from revenue-sharing agreements.
- The Community Energy Leadership Program supports investments in energy-efficiency and clean-energy projects that help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase energy efficiency, stimulate economic activity and promote community partnerships with industry that advance British Columbia’s growing clean-energy sector.
First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund: www.gov.bc.ca/arr/economic/fncebf.html
Community Energy Leadership Program: www.gov.bc.ca/communityenergyleadershipprogram
Clean Energy BC: www.cleanenergybc.org/