The Government of Canada is going to be providing $7 million to support First Nations clean energy projects.

Federal Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson made the announcement Wednesday while speaking to the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce.

One of the projects getting financial support involves the Lac La Ronge Indian Band (LLRIB), which will be getting over $2 million to hire and train community energy coordinators in a number of communities. The funding will also go to support education efforts and the creation of community energy plans. LLRIB Chief Tammy Cook-Searson thanked the federal government for the investment.

“This financial backing goes beyond just funding, its a pledge to our future, our growth and our dedication to safeguarding the land that nourishes us and on which our survival depends,” she said.

Wilkinson also announced financial support for SaskPower to help pay for a feasibility study to look at a microgrid which could replace the current interconnection. The Star Blanket Cree Nation Cree Nation is also getting money to help train people and do community energy planning.

Also getting financial support is Prism Energy Limited Partnership which is looking to construct a solar energy project near Weyburn. Jonathan Cheszes, lead consultant with Prism said they are working to build capacity on Ochapowace First Nation, which is part of the partnership, while also looking to provide revenue to the the First Nation. He added the funding is an important step.

“This is the first step in a longer term partnership to develop large solar projects in Saskatchewan,” he said.

The funding for all the projects is coming from the Smart Renewables and Electrification Pathways Program (SREP).

(Top Photo courtesy of SaskPower.)