Renewable Energy Funds Announced for Coastal First Nations

Brittany Webster

A new initiative to assist coastal First Nations in switching to renewable energy sources was announced yesterday.

Coast Funds, an Indigenous-lead conservation finance organization created by First Nations, private foundations, and the provincial and federal governments, will be investing $7.9 million to transition remote communities off of fossil fuels.

'Renewable Energy for Remote Communities' is set to launch in early 2020 in which Coast Funds will work with 11 coastal First Nations who are diesel-dependent to transition to sources of energy like wind and solar, something Executive Director Brodie Guy says will bring benefits beyond just reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

"It'll save First Nations communities significant dollars every year that goes into buying diesel and having it barged into their communities. And actually as they're barging in the diesel it's risking their marine and aquatic life in their territories, much like there was a diesel spill recently, a couple years ago, in Gale Creek and Heiltsuk territory and it was really devestating."

Coast Funds says they will work to develop proposals and business plans with each community through November and December, after which the proposals will be ranked by a Joint Review Committee based on specific elements, such as cost-effectiveness, technical feasablitiy and risk mitigation, and the volume of greenhouse gas displacement. 

The initiative, the release states, is a key component of Clean BC, a project introduced by Premier John Horgan to reduce climate pollution in the province.

Eligible First Nations communities are New Vancouver, Kingcome Inlet, Hartley Bay, Hopetown, Haida Gwaii, Bella Bella, Klemtu, Gilford Island, Bella Coola, Anahim Lake, and Rivers Inlet.

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