BC Government to Invest in First Nations to Support Clean-Energy
The BC government announced on October 28, 2013, its intention to support clean-energy developments in First Nations communities through investments in the First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund (FNCEBF). In his speech at the 11th annual Clean Energy BC conference in Vancouver, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation John Rustad stated that the FNCEBF will support 10 capacity-building projects and two $500,000 equity ventures all supporting clean-energy objectives.
According to the government, the FNCEBF will provide support to 12 First Nations in connection with a variety of clean-energy projects including:
- a feasibility study by Lake Babine Nation which will look at bringing online a district biomass heating system using wood chips;
- a community energy plan developed by Okanagan Indian Band assessing solar, wind, biomass and hydropower potential in their traditional territory, as well as energy-saving opportunities; and
- a 33-megawatt Narrows Inlet Hydro Project built by the shishálh Nation, in partnership with private investors and another First Nation.
The FNCEBF is designed to promote increased First Nations participation in the clean-energy sector by providing money for capacity-building and equity investment in projects in First Nations communities. The FNCEBF is also used as a revenue-sharing vehicle with First Nations on whose traditional territory clean-energy projects are developed. Currently, the provincial government has entered into three revenue-sharing agreements under the FNCEBF with the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations, Squamish Nation and the Tahltan Nation under which the government shares Crown land and water rents related to clean-energy projects on First Nations traditional territory.
BC government clean energy First Nations First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund John Rustad Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation