(October 24, 2017) – The Alberta government has partnered with Beaver Lake Cree Nation to install solar panel systems on three buildings to help lower utility bills and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
With support from Alberta’s Indigenous Solar Program, solar panels will be installed on the Nation’s Busy Beaver Community Store, Wah-Pow Treatment Centre and health centre. The solar panels will help reduce utility costs, allowing the Beaver Lake Cree Nation to reinvest those funds in community projects. It will also prevent about 1,250 tonnes of greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere.
“The Alberta Indigenous Solar Program is making life better and more affordable for Indigenous peoples and communities,” stated Richard Feehan, Minister of Indigenous Relations.
“Our government is proud to support this project and the First Nation’s rich history of environmental leadership.”
Alberta’s Indigenous Solar Program is a new provincial grant initiative to help Indigenous communities reduce their energy bills, create local jobs and participate in the emerging green economy. Beaver Lake Cree Nation is one of many Indigenous communities and organizations that will become more energy-efficient with support from this program.
“Beaver Lake Cree Nation is concerned with the present state of our environment. We recognize the importance of becoming energy-efficient and how moving to the green economy will better position us economically down the road,” explained Germaine Anderson, Chief, Beaver Lake Cree Nation.
“Our Treaty states that as long as the sun shines, the rivers flow, and the grass grows that we will continue our traditional way of life. The sun will continue to shine and be a part of all our lives, and we should be utilizing it with the present and future solar capabilities.”
The $153,000 grant is part of $35 million in funding available this fiscal year through various streams, including the Alberta Indigenous Solar Program, to meet the needs of Indigenous communities tackling climate change. Panel discussions, dialogue with Indigenous leaders, workshops and feedback from two successful pilot projects that helped inform the new programs.
These initiatives support the Alberta government’s commitment to implement the principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Beaver Lake Cree Nation is situated 2 ½ hours northeast of Edmonton, just south of the town of Lac La Biche.