Renewable energy projects are breaking ground across the country, and more and more of Canada’s Indigenous communities want to be a part of it.
A recent story from CBC highlights the growing partnerships between producers of renewable energy and Indigenous groups in Canada, noting that these communities are responsible for owning and running facilities that provide nearly one fifth of Canada’s power.
There are now 152 medium-to-large renewable energy projects (generating electricity for at least 400 to 500 homes each), and another 1,200 smaller projects, with Indigenous involvement in Canada.
Most of these projects involve hydroelectric facilities, but it also includes wind, solar, and biomass power.
Growth of Renewable Energy
The Indigenous Renewable Energy initiative is an academic survey that tracks renewable energy projects in Indigenous Communities across Canada. Since 2014, the group has maintained an ongoing map of these projects.
According to the Indigenous Renewable Energy initiative, there are now facilities with Indigenous involvement in energy Canadian province and territory, including PEI, Newfoundland/Labrador, and Nunavut. Most of the activity is concentrated in Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia.
The 2017 federal budget included $50 million earmarked to help remote Indigenous communities develop renewable energy projects, with the goal of moving away from fossil fuels to reduce Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Benefits of Renewable Power to Indigenous Communities
For some communities, renewable power sources, like wind, solar and hydro, are a cost-saving alternative to expensive fossil fuels like gas and diesel.
Not only do these projects generate electricity for local communities, the growth of renewable energy projects has been a boon to job creation, generating 15,300 direct jobs for Indigenous workers in the past eight years.
Renewable generating facilities create construction jobs during the planning and construction phase, along with permanent operating positions once the project is complete.