The government of British Columbia is partnering with four First Nations communities on Vancouver Island to help increase their activity in the clean energy sector.
Funding from the First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund, or FNCEBF, will support projects that promote energy efficiency and replace diesel dependency with renewable energy in areas such as solar, ocean thermal, wind energy, biomass, run-of-river hydroelectric power and energy-efficiency planning.
According to a press release from the BC government, a key goal of the fund is to increase the participation of Indigenous communities in BC’s clean energy sector, ensuring that communities benefit from the economic opportunities created in their territories in the transition.
Last January, four Vancouver Island First Nations received funding, including K’ómoks First Nation which received $150,000 to expand solar energy to homes owned and occupied by band members on-reserve.
K’ómoks First Nation Chief Nicole Rempel said “In our Comprehensive Community Plan, the members directed us to look at ways to lessen our environmental footprint and explore green energies, so we were happy to work with the Province to deliver this.”
As well, the Hupačasath First Nation received $150,000 in equity funding to install 42 heat pumps in community homes, completing 29 pre-retrofit EnerGuide evaluations and providing 21 home assessments that will inform retrofit approaches to each home. Once complete, these measures will help achieve their comprehensive community plan targets for reducing in greenhouse gas emissions and finding green alternatives.
Chief Councillor Brandy Lauder of the Hupačasath First Nation said “Our members say it is important for their home energy to come from clean, renewable sources.” He added “It is critically important to ensure our members are healthy, safe and comfortable in their homes. Installing heat pumps with high-efficiency cooling and dehumidifying capabilities help prepare our members homes for dangerous heat waves and summer conditions that are inevitable and increasingly more severe in the Alberni Valley.”
T’Sou-ke First Nation received $16,250 capacity funding for Phase 1 design of a solar roof on the community complex and health centre, which will meet at least 25 per cent of the facility’s total energy demand using clean energy sources. The Band issued a statement saying the project will set the tone for its future developments “in that we will continue to insist on environmentally sustainable building criteria in our building designs and developments.”
“The impact from receiving the FNCEBF to design and procure a PV System for the roof of the soon to be constructed T’Sou-ke Nation Community Complex and Health Centre is such a meaningful one for our Nation, as it meets the sustainability goals set out in our Comprehensive Community Plan.”
Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Economic Dev Corp received $30,000 capacity funding to develop a community energy plan, which will build on the successful development, construction and operation of three hydropower facilities (past funding provided through the FNCEBF) by focusing on demand-side management opportunities
Saya Masso, Director of Lands, Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation said the TFN’s three run-of-river hydro companies supply most of the electricity for the Pacific Rim of Vancouver Island. “This project will help to keep our communities moving in the direction of energy self-sufficiency,” added Masso.
In the past year, the fund has provided more than $3.8 million to support new capacity and equity projects in 27 First Nations communities throughout the province. The FNCEBF is accepting applications for the next intake until Sept. 30, 2022. Since the First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund began, more than 136 Indigenous communities have benefited from nearly $19 million in capacity and equity funding.
The FNCEBF provides:
- as much as $500,000 in equity funding for clean energy projects;
- as much as $150,000 toward community energy projects, such as energy-efficiency, demand-side management and fuel-switching projects; and
- as much as $50,000 in capacity funding for community energy planning, feasibility studies or engagement with private-sector clean energy project proponents.
Currently, 46 First Nations benefit from 71 clean energy revenue-sharing agreements with B.C. that are based on new net, incremental revenues to government, derived from water rentals and land rents.