On August 31, 2011, two government agencies announced increased funding for renewable energy projects in remote Aboriginal and northern communities.

Clean Energy Projects and Buildings

The first announcement was made by the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (“AANDC”) that the ecoENERGY for Aboriginal and Northern Communities Program (the “Program”) has been renewed for another five years (2011-2016). The Program’s goal is to mitigate climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions through the support of clean energy projects in Aboriginal and northern off-grid communities. Previous to the renewal, AANDC distributed over $15 million to 96 communities to fund 124 projects from 2007 to 2011.

Two types of projects will receive $20 million in funding over the next five years:

  • renewable energy projects, including feasibility studies; and
  • energy projects integrated with community buildings.

Examples of projects include a heat recovery system for a diesel generating plant, technical feasibility studies for a micro-hydro project, and renewable energy retrofits to a community building.

Communities that received funding in the past are eligible to receive new funding to continue their projects. Applications for funding will be accepted by AANDC until October 3, 2011. More information on the Program, including proposal templates, can be found here.

Woody Biomass Combined Heat and Power Technologies

The second announcement was made by the BC Bioenergy Network (“BCBN”) inviting technology developers to submit expressions of interest (“EOI”) for woody biomass combined heat and power technologies for a remote Aboriginal community. BCBN is an industry-led, non-profit funding agency created by the BC Government in 2008 with a grant of $25 million to fund bioenergy research and the deployment of near-term bioenergy technologies. To date, 21 projects have been funded by BCBN.

The EOI is for the Kwadacha First Nation in Fort Ware, BC, which is an off-grid community that currently uses diesel generators for electricity and cord wood, propane, and baseboard electrical heaters for heating. The goal is to use bioenergy technologies to produce power and heat on an environmentally sustainable basis.

The EOI was developed by the Biomass Energy Resource Center in partnership with BCBN, the Kwadacha First Nation, the BC First Nations Energy and Mining Council, the BC First Nations Foresty Council, and FPInnovations. More information on the EOI, including bid documents and the schedule, can be found here.