Alberta launches Indigenous renewables pilot program

Above left to right: Councillor Brad Rabbit Montana First Nation, Montana First Nation Chief Darrell Strongman, Richard Feehan, Minister of Indigenous Relations, Councillor Ralph Cattleman Montana First Nation, MLA for Wetaskiwin-Camrose Bruce Hinkley, Treaty 6 Grand Chief and Ermineskin Chief Randy Ermineskin, Councillor Ingrid Kelln Montana First Nation, Green Arrow – Akamihk CEO Vickie Wetchie, and Councillor Justin Strongman Montana First Nation.

by Morinville News Staff

The provincial government is launching two small-scale pilot programs for First Nations and Metis communities as part of their Climate Leadership Plan. The government says the two initiatives will invest $2.5 million 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,” said Richard Feehan, Minister of Indigenous Relations, in a release Wednesday afternoon. “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.”

The Alberta Indigenous Solar Program (AISP) and the Alberta Indigenous Community Energy Program (AICEP) will provide $2.5 million for First Nations and Metis Settlements to undertake renewable energy projects and energy efficiency audits in their communities.

Grants up to $200,000 per project to First Nations, Metis Settlements and Indigenous organizations will be funded through AISP. The government says the money is for the installation of solar panels on buildings owned by communities or organizations, including offices, medical centres, and schools.

AICEP is to help First Nations and Metis Settlements reduce emissions and save on energy costs through community energy audits funded to a maximum of $90,000.

Additionally, the province says it will work with successful applicants to develop educational programs that will work as a scientific learning tool for students and community members.

Montana First Nation Chief Darrell Strongman was pleased with the announcement.

“‘Protect Mother Earth and do not poison Mother Earth” has always been the Elders’ advice,” Chief Strongman said. “Being involved with solar is in line with our Elders, providing clean energy.”

Vickie Wetchie, General Manager, Green Arrow Renewable Energy, which is owned and operated by Montana First Nation said the company understands the important economic and environmental value of solar projects to First Nation communities.

“We work with communities to assess and provide consultation on their energy needs and we look forward to these new opportunities to continue serving the community,” she said.

Both the AISP and AICEP programs are now accepting applications

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