Ontario to invest $13M into First Nations climate change initiatives
Province will develop microgrids to help Indigenous communities reduce reliance on diesel fuel
TORONTO—The government of Ontario is funneling $13 million toward two separate climate change programs designed to cut emissions and spur economic growth within Indigenous communities.
“This initiative will strengthen the capacity of First Nations communities to be more resilient to climate change and to find opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Al Douglas, director of the Ontario Centre for Climate Impacts and Adaptation Resources, said. “First Nations will also be well positioned to capitalize on economic opportunities that will stem from the future carbon cap-and-trade system in Ontario.”
The majority of the funds will go toward shifting the province’s First Nation communities away from diesel fuels—because many reserves are isolated from major electrical infrastructure, they often rely on diesel for power. In response, the government will use $8 million of the $13 million to develop microgrid projects within Indigenous communities. Building microgrids will allow reserves to more easily shift to renewable projects paired with storage, drastically cutting their carbon footprints.
The second program, which has been allotted $5 million, is designed to help First Nations communities train and develop the tools and infrastructure to combat climate change. In addition to commissioning a Northern Ontario climate change impact study, the funds will help communities develop energy adaptation plans and build the technical capacity to take advantage of opportunities within the developing clean economy.