As part of Alberta’s Climate Leadership Plan, the provincial government is launching two small-scale pilot programs for First Nations and Métis communities that invest in local renewable projects that create jobs, reduce emissions and lower utility costs.
“Indigenous communities are at the frontlines of climate change and want to be part of the solution. These programs will help Indigenous organizations and communities reduce their emissions and energy bills while creating good jobs and a healthier, more diversified energy economy, explained Richard Feehan, Minister of Indigenous Relations in a press release.
The Alberta Indigenous Solar Program (AISP) and the Alberta Indigenous Community Energy Program (AICEP) will provide $2.5 million for First Nations and Métis Settlements to undertake renewable energy projects and energy efficiency audits in their communities.
The AISP will provide grants of up to $200,000 per project to First Nations, Métis Settlements and Indigenous organizations. The money will be used to install solar panels on buildings owned by communities or organizations, such as offices, medical centres, schools and more.
The AICEP will help First Nations and Métis Settlements reduce emissions and save on energy costs through community energy audits funded to a maximum of $90,000.
These pilot programs will inform engagement on future climate leadership programming.
In addition, the province will work with successful applicants to develop educational programs that will work as a scientific learning tool for students and community members.
“Alberta’s Climate Leadership Plan will make our economy greener, more diversified and more sustainable for future generations. To succeed in this and grow a provincial energy sector that includes renewables, we must ensure Indigenous communities have the capacity to participate in the process. These two programs are an important first step towards achieving these goals,” said Shannon Phillips, Minister of Environment and Parks.
“‘Protect Mother Earth and do not poison Mother Earth,’ has always been the Elders’ advice. Being involved with solar is in line with our Elders, providing clean energy,” added Chief Darrell Strongman, Montana First Nation.