THUNDER BAY, Ont.—More than 25 remote First Nations communities in Northern Ontario, as well as nearly 300 across Canada, rely on diesel generators for the majority of their electricity.
Expensive, unreliable and bad for the environment, the federal government is contributing $2.7 million to a group of First Nations looking to cut the use of diesel fuel in half by modernizing the energy infrastructure in Northern Ontario.
“This project represents an important step forward for many of our communities and will enable us to manage our energy consumption and conservation more efficiently,” Geordi Kakepetum, the company’s CEO, said. “We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Government of Canada that is helping us find an innovation solution that not only will address our energy needs, provide a sustainable revenue stream, and create jobs, but will be a clean alternative.”
A partnership between six First Nations, NCC Development LP installs solar micro-grid projects at First Nations communities across Northern Ontario, and has plans to expand the program across the country.
The $2.7 million investment was made available through the federal government’s Northern Ontario development agency, FedNor. The funds aim to help NCC develop a corporate management structure and the operational capacity to work directly with First Nations on renewable micro-grid systems. Canadian Solar Solutions Inc. is also collaborating on the project.
In addition to replacing diesel generation capacity with solar or other renewables, the micro-grids are designed to produce long-term cost savings and create sustainable jobs within First Nations communities.
Six separate organizations launched a similar initiative last month aimed at getting communities in Canada’s Arctic off diesel.