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First Nations clean-energy projects funded on Vancouver Island

Press Release

July 28, 2022

VICTORIA – Four First Nations communities on Vancouver Island will increase their clean-energy sector participation in local projects, thanks to from the Province.

The Province is partnering with communities throughout B.C. to develop Indigenous-driven energy projects that align with CleanBC, the Province’s plan to build a cleaner future and a stronger, more resilient economy.

The First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund (FNCEBF) supports projects that promote energy efficiency and replace diesel dependency with renewable energy in areas such as solar, ocean thermal, wind energy, biomass, run-of-river hydroelectric power and energy-efficiency planning. A key goal of the fund is to increase the participation of Indigenous communities in B.C.’s clean-energy sector, ensuring that communities benefit from the economic opportunities created in their territories in the transition.

The Hupačasath First Nation received $150,000 in equity funding to install 42 heat pumps in community homes, completing 29 pre-retrofit EnerGuide evaluations and providing 21 home assessments that will inform retrofit approaches to each home. Once complete, these measures will help achieve their comprehensive community plan targets for reducing in greenhouse gas emissions and finding green alternatives.

Three other First Nations communities located on Vancouver Island also received funding in January 2022:

  • K’ómoks First Nation — $150,000 equity funding to expand solar energy to homes owned and occupied by band members on-reserve, which will lessen the Nation’s environmental footprint
  • T’Sou-ke First Nation — $16,250 capacity funding for Phase 1 design of a solar roof on the community complex and health centre, which will meet at least 25% of the facility’s total energy demand using clean-energy sources
  • Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Economic Dev Corp — $30,000 capacity funding to develop a community energy plan, which will build on the successful development, construction and operation of three hydropower facilities (past funding provided through the FNCEBF) by focusing on demand-side management opportunities

In the past year, the fund has provided more than $3.8 million to support new capacity and equity projects in 27 First Nations communities throughout the province. The FNCEBF is accepting applications for the next intake until Sept. 30, 2022.

Learn More:

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/

Two backgrounders follow.

Contact:

Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation
Media Relations
250 896-4348


BACKGROUNDER 1

Facts about the First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund

  • Since the First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund (FNCEBF) began, more than 136 Indigenous communities have benefited from nearly $19 million in capacity and equity funding.
  • In fiscal 2021-22, the FNCEBF distributed more than $8 million to First Nations communities.
  • The FNCEBF provides:
    • as much as $500,000 in equity funding for clean-energy projects;
    • as much as $150,000 toward community energy projects, such as energy-efficiency, demand-side management and fuel-switching projects; and
    • as much as $50,000 in capacity funding for community energy planning, feasibility studies or engagement with private-sector clean-energy project proponents.
  • Funding is available to B.C. Indigenous communities with projects located in the province.
  • Currently, 46 First Nations benefit from 71 clean-energy revenue-sharing agreements with B.C. that are based on new net, incremental revenues to government, derived from water rentals and land rents.

Contact:

Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation
Media Relations
250 896-4348


BACKGROUNDER 2

What people are saying about First Nations clean-energy projects

Murray Rankin, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation –

“First Nations communities play a vital role in the clean-energy sector. Through the First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund, we are investing in Indigenous-led business ventures that help build energy-efficient, resilient communities in our transition to a low-carbon future.”

Bruce Ralston, Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation –

“Indigenous engagement in B.C.’s clean-energy sector supports our reconciliation efforts and accelerates our transition to a low-carbon economy. Partnerships between First Nations communities and industry strengthen our provincial economy, and achieve a diverse array of positive environmental, social and governance outcomes, while providing a sustainable path to achieving CleanBC’s climate targets.”

Chief Nicole Rempel, K’ómoks First Nation (KFN) –

“KFN’s Leadership and Administration take direction from membership. In our Comprehensive Community Plan, the members directed us to look at ways to lessen our environmental footprint and explore green energies, so we were happy to work with the Province to deliver this. As Elders are not well funded by the Canadian government, KFN’s leadership and Economic Development Corporation recognize the need to assist our Elders wherever we can.”

Chief Councillor Brandy Lauder, Hupačasath First Nation –

“Our members say it is important for their home energy to come from clean, renewable sources. It is critically important to ensure our members are healthy, safe and comfortable in their homes. Installing heat pumps with high-efficiency cooling and dehumidifying capabilities help prepare our members homes for dangerous heat waves and summer conditions that are inevitable and increasingly more severe in the Alberni Valley.”

T’Sou-ke First Nation –

“The impact from receiving the FNCEBF to design and procure a PV System for the roof of the soon to be constructed T’Sou-ke Nation Community Complex and Health Centre is such a meaningful one for our Nation, as it meets the sustainability goals set out in our Comprehensive Community Plan. It also sets the tone for our future developments in that we will continue to insist on environmentally sustainable building criteria in our building designs and developments.”

Saya Masso, Director of Lands, Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation (TFN)  –

“The Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation appreciates the assistance by the Province’s Clean Energy Business Fund in helping our communities to develop and implement meaningful, clean-energy goals. In the winter season, TFN’s three run-of-river hydro companies supply most of the electricity for the Pacific Rim of Vancouver Island. This project will help to keep our communities moving in the direction of energy self-sufficiency.”

John Horgan, MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca –

“Congratulations to these four First Nations communities on being at the forefront of shifting to clean-energy sources. The ravages of climate change are a real threat to many communities. Clean energy offers a path to a healthier, more resilient future for us all.”

Josie Osborne, MLA for Mid Island-Pacific Rim –

“These projects are important examples of First Nations’ determination to achieve clean energy and energy security goals set by their communities. They are critical to increasing the resiliency of rural communities to the effects of climate change and natural disasters, and to building safe, renewable energy sources that people can depend on.”

Ronna-Rae Leonard, MLA for Courtenay-Comox –

“This funding is great news for our local First Nations. We know that climate change affects small and remote communities differently, making First Nations more likely to be impacted by natural disasters. CleanBC projects, like these new clean-energy projects, are an excellent way to combat climate change while benefiting families and communities.”

Contact:

Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation
Media Relations
250 896-4348

Connect with the Province of B.C. at: news.gov.bc.ca/connect

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