Above L-R: Richard Feehan (Minister of Indigenous Relations), Gerald Cunningham (president of the Metis Settlements General Council), Willie Littlechild (Grand Chief of the Confederacy of Treaty 6 First Nations).

by Morinville News Staff

The government has announced seven new programs to help 48 First Nations and eight Metis Settlements in Alberta invest in local renewable projects, energy-efficiency audits and training for jobs in a low-carbon economy.

“Indigenous communities must be full participants in the efforts to protect our air, land and water and these programs will ensure that communities have the ability to undertake measures locally to help protect the earth by reducing the impacts of a changing climate,” said Richard Feehan, Minister of Indigenous Relations.

Shannon Phillips, Minister Responsible for the Climate Change Office, sad the programs leverage the carbon levy towards further emissions reductions.

“They also help make life better for Indigenous communities, building capacity and expertise while saving energy and money,” she said.

The government says the initiatives were developed to meet the needs of Indigenous communities and to support the priorities of the Climate Leadership Plan: reducing greenhouse gas emissions, creating jobs, diversifying the economy and increasing community health and well-being.

The programs are supported by $35 million in grant funding and fall under three categories:

Planning and capacity-building programs:

The Alberta Indigenous Climate Capacity Program – grants will help Indigenous communities and organizations increase climate-change awareness and understanding of climate leadership through a variety of activities, including train-the-trainer sessions and climate literacy sessions. ($2.5 million)

The Alberta Indigenous Climate Planning Program – grants can be used by Indigenous communities to establish an understanding of local opportunities related to energy production and conservation through the development of Community Energy Plans and Energy Opportunity Assessments. ($2.5 million)

The Alberta Community Energy Program – grants are available for Indigenous communities and organizations to determine how energy is being used in their buildings and to identify opportunities to save energy and energy costs through the development of comprehensive building audits. This program began as a pilot last year and is now extended. ($3 million)

Implementation and asset programs:

The Alberta Indigenous Energy Efficiency (Retrofit) Program – grants are available for projects that improve energy efficiency in new or existing buildings owned by Indigenous communities or organizations. Grants may be used to cover the costs of upgraded lighting, heating, ventilation and air conditioning system redesign, windows, insulation and roofing. ($14 million)

The Alberta Indigenous Green Energy Development Program – grants are available to develop commercial-scale, renewable-energy projects aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and allowing communities to meet their local energy needs and sell any excess energy into Alberta’s energy grid. ($8 million)

The Alberta Indigenous Solar Program – grants will assist Indigenous communities to install solar photovoltaic systems on facilities owned by the community or organizations. This program began as a pilot last year is now extended. ($3 million)

Training and employment:

The Alberta Indigenous Green Employment Program – grants may be used by community-based training organizations for employment and training projects aimed at promoting low-carbon economy employment opportunities (such as, solar panel installer, wind turbine technician, spray foam insulator etc.) for Indigenous peoples. ($2 million)

The details of these programs and applications are available on the Indigenous Relations’ website at indigenous.alberta.ca/climate.

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