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Government of Canada announces support for solar projects in two Saskatchewan First Nation communities

Press Release

From: Environment and Climate Change Canada

December 16, 2020 – Ottawa, Ontario

Across the country, Canadians want cleaner air and healthier communities, and we want to protect our environment from the impacts of climate change as we continue to live with the realities of the pandemic. The Government of Canada is supporting clean-energy projects in communities across the country to cut pollution, save on energy costs, create good jobs, and ensure a healthier future.

Today, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, announced approximately $948,000 in funding from the Low Carbon Economy Fund to support the Cowessess First Nation’s and the Muskoday First Nation’s solar-power projects.

The Cowessess project, which is receiving approximately $633,000 in funding, will help support the installation of 320 kilowatts of solar power across five of its community-owned buildings through SaskPower’s Net Metering Program. Over the lifetime of this project, Cowessess First Nation will see a cumulative reduction of about 6,500 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions—equivalent to taking approximately 2,000 cars off the road for one year.

The Muskoday First Nation project will receive approximately $315,000 in funding to support the installation of 190 kilowatts of solar power across three prominent community-owned buildings. This initiative will stimulate clean growth and create local jobs for the people of Muskoday. Over the lifetime of this project, the Muskoday First Nation will see a cumulative reduction of about 2,700 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions—equivalent to taking approximately 800 cars off the road for one year.

The funding for these investments comes from the Partnerships stream of the Government of Canada’s Low Carbon Economy Challenge, which invests in projects that reduce carbon pollution, save money, and create good jobs.

Canada’s strengthened climate plan will cut pollution across the country, including by making the places in which we live and gather more energy efficient and by investing in good, clean-energy projects. The Government of Canada now has a plan to not only meet but also exceed our 2030 target and put the country on a path toward net-zero emissions by 2050.

Quotes

“The Government of Canada is pleased to support the Cowessess First Nation’s and the Muskoday First Nation’s solar-energy projects, which will make a real difference in these two communities by cutting pollution; helping them save on energy costs; and creating good, local jobs. Indigenous communities are on the frontlines of climate change. The Government will continue to support them in transitioning to clean energy and adapting to climate change, helping to ensure a cleaner, healthier future for generations to come.”

– The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

“Cowessess First Nation is on the path to becoming one of the greenest nations in Saskatchewan. Our Community Buildings Solar Project will see net-metering solar systems installed on five community-owned buildings for a total of 320 kilowatts. This will reduce our overall carbon footprint, and the cost savings realized will be redirected to underfunded social areas. Renewable energy speaks to our traditional values of land stewardship and environmental sustainability and allows us to think of our future generations in the way our previous generations have thought about us. The support of the Low Carbon Economy Fund’s Partnerships stream has helped Cowessess First Nation implement green infrastructure on reserve, which will further enable us to be active participants in the fight against climate change.”

– Cadmus Delorme, Chief of Cowessess First Nation

“We are committed to the path of sustainable economic self-sufficiency and to carefully growing and managing our resources, balancing our choices on the best of what both modern knowledge and traditional ways have to offer. Muskoday is extremely enthusiastic and excited to announce and introduce our two new solar-power projects, which are the Low Carbon Economy Fund and the SaskPower 324 megawatt projects. They will provide Muskoday First Nation with the capacity to not only produce energy for revenue but also to reduce our electrical costs on our community buildings for generations to come. More importantly, it reduces the dependency on fossil fuels, and it aligns with our Indigenous perspective of care and respect for Mother Earth. Muskoday would also like to acknowledge and congratulate Chief Delorme and the Cowessess First Nation on being selected and for their commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reliance on fossil fuels for future generations.”

– Herman Crain, Chief of Muskoday First Nation

Quick facts

  • The Cowessess First Nation initiative will support the community in producing its own energy while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and supporting clean growth locally. The project will generate over 460 megawatt-hours of renewable energy annually and will displace, on average, 60 percent of the annual electricity consumption from the grid across the five community sites.
  • The Muskoday First Nation community will generate over 200 megawatt-hours of renewable energy annually, displacing over 40 percent of the annual electricity use from the grid of the band hall administration office, the fire hall, and the Muskoday school.
  • The Low Carbon Economy Fund, which includes the Partnerships stream, is an important part of Canada’s climate action plan, helping put Canada on a path to meet and exceed the Paris Agreement target for 2030.
  • The Low Carbon Economy Fund is supporting energy-efficiency projects in provinces and territories across Canada, which will help Canadians and businesses save money by lowering energy bills.
  • The Low Carbon Economy Challenge was open to a wide range of applicants from across the country, who are innovating smart energy-efficient solutions for their communities, and it supports projects that will leverage ingenuity to reduce emissions and generate clean growth.

Associated links

Contacts

Moira Kelly
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change
819-271-6218
[email protected]

Media Relations
Environment and Climate Change Canada
819-938-3338 or 1-844-836-7799 (toll-free)
[email protected]

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