Minister Richard Feehan was in Wabamun today to announce funding for several projects under Alberta's Indigenous Climate Leadership Plan.
The Government of Alberta has created a partnership with Paul First Nation to introduce several energy-efficiency projects which will provide savings to the community.
Minister of Indigenous Relations Richard Feehan, made the announcement this morning with the approval of four programs for Paul First Nation and another three in the process of getting funded.
The projects received funding through the Alberta Indigenous Energy Efficiency (Retrofit) Program, the Alberta Indigenous Climate Planning Program, the Alberta Indigenous Climate Capacity Program and the Alberta Indigenous Green Energy Development Program. The total amount of funding received from each program totals to almost $747,000 and is funded with use of the carbon levy.
Speaking to the Retrofit Program, Minister Feehan states, "it's quite wide-spread in the community, in fact that program is going to save just a little over 500 GJ of energy for the community and that reduces carbon in the atmosphere by about 34 tonnes".
Other programs include studying how their community can improve upon their carbon footprint while also reducing energy costs for Indigenous Peoples. Additionally, Paul First Nation will be using the fund to begin putting up solar panels in the community and begin investing in the technical development stage for a commercially viable 25 megawatt solar farm. Speaking to some of the impact this will have Feehan explains, "I think what we will see is the community able to participate at an equity level and derive benefit for the next 50 years from actual part ownership of the electrical production in this province".
These programs come from the Indigenous Climate Leadership Plan which was dedicated to supporting communities through these several programs such as setting up solar panels to helping people set up more energy friendly business plans.
In terms of the whole process in getting the funding, Minister Feehan explains how Paul Band has shown tremendous leadership in working with the program. He adds, "now moving towards participating in Alberta's energy grid, that's major because not only does it take care of the environment in fundamental ways and the pollution that we all are responsible for but it also will allow them to drive income".
Feehan adds in speaking with First Nations across the province he hears the people saying they want to be more energy efficient but also sufficient. Feehan explains their message saying, "moccasins come in pairs, you can't have one and let the other go barefoot, you have to do both otherwise it just doesn't make sense. So you create economic development but you do it in a way that's sustainable for the community". he adds through this they will not just be passing on jobs to children but the future environment as well.
For Feehan, the next step is continuing to bring projects to the First Nations across the province as he says over 30 Nations are putting up solar panels and 124 projects have been approved so far across the province. In closing he says, "We want the First Nations, the Indigenous Peoples of this province to benefit from this new economy that we're developing right from day one, we don't want them looking for a doorway in, so from day one they're going to be part owners and invested in Alberta doing well".