Indigenous communities in the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley and the Interior are heading clean-energy projects with B.C. government funding, which will lower utility costs and contribute to more economic opportunities and stable telecommunications in emergencies.
Indigenous communities are partnering with the Province to develop projects that align with the CleanBC plan to reduce climate-changing emissions. Through the First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund (FNCEBF), the Province is providing four communities in the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley and the Interior with nearly $300,000.
The FNCEBF supports clean-energy projects led by Indigenous communities, such as harnessing solar energy, installing heat pumps and energy-efficiency planning. In this round of funding, nine First Nation partners provincewide received more than $1.4 million through the fund, which includes nearly $1 million of one-time funding for projects.
New projects from this round of funding:
- Hiy̓ám̓ ta Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Housing Society will install solar-energy units on the roofs of 13 Squamish Nation residential buildings to provide clean energy to renters and reduce electricity bills ($150,000);
- Osoyoos Indian Band will conduct a review of a solar plant co-owned with Fortis to address increased summer demand for electricity, due to rising temperatures during the past several years ($50,000);
- Nlaka'pamux Nation Tribal Council will conduct a review of a proposed 49-hectare solar project on a mine site ($48,695); and
- Peters First Nation will develop a plan to lower utility costs for members and stabilize access to telecommunication networks in emergencies, such as floods ($50,000).
Indigenous communities can benefit from economic opportunities in their territories by participating in the clean-energy sector and the FNCEBF program.
- Since the FNCEBF began, more than 150 Indigenous communities have benefited from more than $20 million in capacity and equity funding for projects focused on clean energy, energy efficiency, fuel switching and feasibility studies.
- Currently, 46 First Nations benefit from 71 clean-energy revenue-sharing agreements with B.C. that are based on new incremental revenues to government derived from water rentals and land rents.
First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/natural-resource-stewardship/consulting-with-first-nations/first-nations-clean-energy-business-fund
Clean Energy BC: www.cleanenergybc.org/
A backgrounder follows.