New funds available for Indigenous green economy projects

(June 25, 2018) – More Indigenous communities and organizations will benefit from programs that create jobs, cut greenhouse gas emissions and reduce energy bills. 

Due to the high level of interest by Indigenous communities in participating in government’s Indigenous climate leadership programs, funding has increased from $35 million to nearly $50 million. This will mean more Indigenous communities and organizations will be able to participate.

 “We have heard loud and clear from Indigenous communities that these programs work which is why we have chosen to increase funding,” stated Minister of Indigenous Relations Richard Feehan. “There is tremendous interest in this program. Last year, 125 projects in 66 Indigenous communities or organizations were completed and we expect the number of projects to rise this year.”

Seven programs have been designed to help Indigenous communities and organizations invest in local renewable projects, energy-efficiency audits and training for jobs in a low-carbon economy. Last year, the project proposals received exceeded the programs’ budget.

Minister Feehan and Chief Billy Morin, (centre), Rik Kaminsky (far left) and council members attend announcement at Enoch Cree Nation.

“Our government is proud to work with the Province of Alberta to tackle climate change and put clean energy solutions into action,” added Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change.

“This type of collaboration is a central part of Canada’s clean growth and climate action plan. We are also pleased to support the Enoch First Nation’s leadership to reduce carbon pollution by investing in solar power. Projects like these support economic opportunities and local jobs, while contributing to a more sustainable future for our kids and grandkids.”

The federal government provided $7 million to the province for these initiatives. The province is using the federal money this year and next to boost funding for its Alberta Indigenous Solar Program and Alberta Indigenous Energy Efficiency (Retrofit) Program.

Over the lifetime of the projects funded through these programs, more than 36,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases a year will be avoided – equivalent to removing more than 7,000 passenger vehicles each year from the roads. In 2017-18, an estimated 250 people will have been trained for careers in the green economy.

“Our mission at Enoch Cree Nation is to invest in our future to preserve our past,” remarked Enoch Cree Nation Chief William Morin. “Green energy investment represents our commitment to uphold our responsibility to be traditional caretakers of the land. The government has taken a true treaty approach to collaboration – today is a day of reconcili-action.”

As an example of the benefits communities participating in the program receive, Cold Lake First Nations accessed the Alberta Indigenous Solar Program. Because of the grant, they will save approximately $6,000 on utility bills each year, reduce more than 1,305 tonnes of GHGs and save nearly $150,000 on utilities over the 25-year life of the solar panels.

It is a provincial priority that Indigenous peoples fully participate in Alberta’s Climate Leadership Plan. The government will continue to work with Indigenous communities and organizations to ensure their priorities, needs and interests are reflected as programming is developed and refined.

Interested parties can now apply online for program grants. Indigenous Climate Leadership funding programs include:

  • Alberta Indigenous Climate Capacity Program
  • Alberta Indigenous Climate Planning Program
  • Alberta Indigenous Community Energy (Audits) Program
  • Alberta Indigenous Energy Efficiency (Retrofit) Program
  • Alberta Indigenous Solar Program
  • Alberta Indigenous Green Energy Development Program
  • Alberta Indigenous Green Employment Program

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