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New guide shows an Indigenous-led energy shift – National Observer

November 7th 2023

From Mi’gmaq communities in the Gaspé Peninsula harnessing the power of wind to a health centre powered by solar in Lubicon Lake First Nation in Alberta, the energy transition is underway and is being led by Indigenous communities.

A new guide highlights those stories, along with others across Canada. Released Monday by Sacred Earth Solar, Indigenous Climate Action, David Suzuki Foundation, Power to the People and Real World Media, the guide highlights examples showing Indigenous communities embracing clean energy and a just transition, leading to far-reaching benefits. Called the Indigenous Just Transition Guide, the research is meant to inspire and educate Indigenous communities on pathways towards clean energy that include Indigenous sovereignty and leadership and be a resource for all levels of government as they implement climate policy.

A truly just transition off fossil fuels needs to be informed by existing stories of Indigenous success and centre a variety of Indigenous knowledge and perspectives, the report notes. In Canada, Indigenous communities are building solar, wind and other renewable projects at a swift rate. In 2020, not-for-profit Indigenous Clean Energy Social Enterprise noted there are almost 200 medium to large renewable projects either nearing completion or already in operation with some level of Indigenous participation.

As reported by The Canadian Press, new data not yet released by the not-for-profit shows Indigenous communities “now own, co-own or have a defined financial benefit agreement in place for almost 20 per cent of Canada’s electricity generating infrastructure,” making them the largest asset owners outside of utilities.

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