Fourteen First Nations in B.C. to Receive $3.1M Towards Clean Energy Projects
Vancouver – Fourteen First Nations throughout the province are receiving $3.1 million in funding to develop alternative energy projects and advance energy efficiency in their communities through the British Columbia Indigenous Clean Energy Initiative (BCICEI), a clean-energy funding partnership between the Government of Canada, the Province of British Columbia and the New Relationship Trust (NRT). This funding is made possible by $2.3 million in support from PacifiCan and $1.6 million from Indigenous Services Canada’s Strategic Partnership Initiative.
Clean energy projects receiving funding include small and larger-scale solar arrays, home energy efficiency retrofits, hydropower projects, and a green hydrogen production and fueling station envisioned as part of a B.C. “Hydrogen Highway”.
“NRT is proud to take part in the transformation towards clean energy generation and efficiency taking place in urban and remote Indigenous communities across B.C.,” says Walter Schneider, CEO of NRT. “The projects funded through the BCICEI will have far-reaching impacts on reducing GHG emissions, advancing economic growth opportunities for First Nations and improving sustainability, resiliency and quality of life for their communities.”
One of the funding recipients, the Nazko First Nation, will put the funding toward providing two family homes on Trout Lake with upgrades to solar panels, batteries, inverter, electricity and water source.
“Nazko First Nation is moving forward with ensuring our citizens benefit from Clean Energy products and resources,” says Sandra Roach, Housing Coordinator for the Nazko First Nation. “We are proud of the fact that we are focusing on clean energy upgrades for our housing and heating our new 9-Unit Rapid Housing Complex and Health Centre with biomass heat, another clean energy product.”
A similar project by the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Indian Band anticipates that the funding received for home energy retrofits will reduce 370 GJ of natural gas consumption and 18.5 tonnes of CO2 equivalent annually.
“Musqueam Housing Department has undertaken several projects to improve the energy efficiency of homes in the Musqueam community. Thanks to funding from BCICEI, the Housing Department can now expand this effort to an additional 10 on-reserve homes”, says Community Energy Specialist
Ehsan Haghi. “The BCICEI funding will be used to improve the building envelope, replace space heating and hot water equipment, and enhance the overall health and safety of Musqueam homes.”
The next BCICEI intake will open on September 26, 2023.
“PacifiCan has proudly supported the BC Indigenous Clean Energy Initiative since it launched 16 years ago. In that time, the project has launched 100 clean energy projects, creating new economic opportunities and thousands of jobs for Indigenous communities through British Columbia. PacifiCan will continue to support partnerships with Indigenous peoples that advance reconciliation and grow our economy.” – The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada (PacifiCan)
“Under the leadership and administration of the New Relationship Trust, British Columbia Indigenous Clean Energy Initiative (BCICEI) has been changing how business is done in First Nations communities across the province. BCICEI supports clean energy projects, while also supporting self-determination through an emphasis on ownership, revenue sharing, local employment, and economic development. Contributions from the Strategic Partnership Initiative help governments, industry and First Nations to develop green solutions that create jobs in First Nations communities today, and protect the environment of our future.” – The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services
“As these projects show, First Nations are leading the way when it comes to using solar, hydrogen and other clean and renewable sources of energy to power their lives, homes, businesses, and communities. Our government is proud to partner with the New Relationship Trust and the Government of Canada to advance these projects, generating jobs and other opportunities for First Nations in the clean economy as we work together to advance reconciliation, reduce carbon emissions and achieve our climate goals.” – Josie Osborne, B.C. Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation
“Enabled by funding from Canada and BC, First Nations in BC are leading the way in the energy transition to clean energy. BC First Nations are building clean energy projects that both generate revenue that provide clean, renewable energy to the grid and displace diesel generation in remote communities. I commend them for showing much needed leadership in the electricity sector. “ – Judith Sayers, President of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council
Launched in 2016, the BCICEI provides up to $500,000 in support and capacity-building funds to Indigenous communities towards the planning and implementation of clean energy projects such as hydro, wind, biomass, solar, marine, or geothermal projects.
The funding helps to decarbonize community energy systems and bridge the gap in early-stage funding for clean energy ventures. BCICEI also targets energy efficiency projects and energy storage, and assists some remote communities in reducing their dependency on conventional diesel power generation.
Funded by Pacific Economic Development Canada through the federal government’s Strategic Partnerships Initiative, with contributions from the Province of B.C. in 2019 through the CleanBC plan, BCICEI has delivered $26 million to support over 100 clean energy projects in First Nations in B.C. since 2016.
In June 2023 the Province announced it is providing $140 million to the BCICEI to support Indigenous-led power projects, create economic opportunities for First Nations, and advance community self-determination. The Province’s $140 million contribution will support smaller Indigenous-led power projects that may otherwise not be competitive in BC Hydro’s upcoming call for power due to their smaller size.
For more information, visit www.newrelationshiptrust.ca
About New Relationship Trust
The NRT is an independent, Indigenous-led and politically neutral non-profit dedicated to empowering First Nations in B.C. in their unique journeys toward self-determination and nationhood.
Created as a result of the Transformative Change Accord Agreement signed in 2005 between the First Nation Leadership Council, the government of B.C. and the government of Canada, the NRT embodies a commitment to strengthen relationships on a government-to-government basis, and a recognition that transformative change requires Indigenous-led funding approaches.
In addition to its strategic partnerships with the provincial and federal government, the NRT serves as a catalyst for capacity development transformation across First Nations in British Columbia through its funding pillars in Nation building, economic development, education, and language and culture.
In 2006, the NRT was seeded with a $100 million investment from the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation. Since then, NRT has flowed more than $101 million dollars from this fund to First Nations to support them in building resilient and thriving communities on their own terms.
Thanks to prudent fiscal management, that initial capitalization has become a perpetual fund that will support First Nations into the future they choose to create for themselves.
New Relationship Trust
Marie Alaimo, Director of Operations