By Norman Galimski
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Two Indigenous communities on Haida Gwaii received $800,000 from the First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund (FNCEBF) to support clean energy projects, the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation announced on Jan. 13.
The Tll Yahda Energy solar-farm project, with Skidegate First Nation, and the Northern Haida Gwaii Hospital heating project, supported by Old Masset Village Council, each obtained $400,000 from the FNCEBF.
“People know that we are going to need more clean energy to combat climate change, and it’s great to see First Nations on the North Coast leading that work. These clean-energy projects will help phase out fossil fuels and create sustainable jobs for more people,” Jennifer Rice, MLA for North Coast, said.
Through the FNCEBF the province partners with Indigenous communities to work toward a low-carbon future by providing funds for green projects.
Three other First Nations in the Northwest and Central Coast also received funding.
Heiltsuk First Nation received $29,012 in equity funding to complete a community heat pump initiative to reduce diesel reliance.
“Our community members are already beginning to experience the shift towards a clean-energy future with many of our homes experiencing lower energy bills, better air quality and more efficient homes and heating systems with our heat-pump project. Many **>First Nations<** communities suffer poverty. One of our Elders said, `Thank you so much for my heat pump, I forgot what heat felt like.’
It’s statements like these that propel our desire and goal to ensure every home is retrofitted with this source renewable energy,” Leona Humchitt, Heiltsuk Nation climate action co-ordinator, said.
Kitselas First Nation benefitted from $500,000 in equity funding for Kitselas Geothermal Inc. to replace fossil fuels powered industrial heating with geothermal resources in the Fuel for Reconciliation project.
Wuikinuxv Nation received $202,525 in equity funding to install a smart-energy metering and control system.
“Partnerships between industry and First Nations play an important part in building a low-carbon economy with new clean-energy jobs, while also improving quality of life in remote areas of B.C. Supporting First Nation communities in becoming more energy-efficient provides a direct and sustainable path to achieving CleanBC’s climate targets,” Bruce Ralston, Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation, said.
In 2021, the FNCEBF provided more than $3.8 million to support new capacity and equity projects in 27 Indigenous communities throughout the province, the ministry stated.
The FNCEBF is accepting applications for the next intake until Jan. 31, 2022.
Norman Galimski is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the PRINCE RUPERT NORTHERN VIEW . The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.