Photo by VoVo Productions Jiigawaay Naay Unguu, BC’s largest community-owned solar energy system at the Haida Heritage Centre at Ḵay Llnagaay.

Indigenous-led organizations and province announce initiative to get North Coast communities off oil

First Nations communities from Haida Gwaii to Bella Bella will be eligible

A new fund will be launched in 2020 for First Nations’ investments in renewable energy in the remote communities along B.C.’s northern coast.

Coast Funds — an Indigenous-led conservation finance organization to strengthen the well-being of First Nations and the ecological integrity of the Great Bear Rainforest and Haida Gwaii — and the Province announced the Renewable Energy for Remote Communities on Tuesday.

This initiative, launching in early 2020, will see $7.9 million in new investments made with coastal First Nations towards transitioning their remote communities’ fossil fuel-dependent electrical grids to renewable energy sources.

READ MORE: Sustainable economy flourishing in Haida Gwaii and Great Bear Rainforest thanks to First Nations investments

Renewable Energy for Remote Communities will assist diesel-dependent communities in transitioning to renewable energy sources between 2020 and 2023. Under the initiative, First Nations communities that are dependent on diesel to generate electricity are eligible to submit proposals with the initial call for proposals launching in December 2019.

The Province partnered with Coast Funds to lead investments, with 11 First Nations located within the Great Bear Rainforest and Haida Gwaii regions and with Fraser Basin Council, in diesel-dependant communities in other regions of the province.

“Coast Funds was created by First Nations and their funding partners with a priority to invest in transitioning remote coastal communities towards renewable energy,” says Huux Percy Crosby, Chair of Coast Funds. “We are grateful for this opportunity to collaborate with coastal First Nations on this core element of the Province’s CleanBC plan. New investments under this initiative will further strengthen the well-being in remote coastal communities and First Nations’ efforts to protect and steward coastal ecosystems, reducing dependency on fossil fuels and the threat of oil spills in the Great Bear Rainforest and Haida Gwaii.”

The following First Nations communities will be eligible under the Renewable Energy for Remote Communities program when it launches in December: Da’naxda’xw Awaetlala (New Vancouver); Dzawada’enuxw (Kingcome Inlet); Gitga’at (Hartley Bay); Gwawaeneuk (Hopetown); Haida (Haida Gwaii); Haízaqv (Bella Bella); Kitasoo/Xai’xais (Klemtu); Kwikwasut’inux Haxwa’mis (Gilford Island); Nuxalk (Bella Coola; Ulkatcho (Anahim Lake); and Wuikinuxv (Rivers Inlet).

READ MORE: Indigenous peoples to have one more voice at the table

READ MORE: Coast Funds announces three First Nations women to board of directors


Jenna Cocullo | Journalist
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