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Canada, B.C. support First Nations to power up new clean-energy projects

Press Release

May 23, 2024

VANCOUVER – Thirty-five First Nations throughout B.C. are receiving $9.8 million in federal and provincial funding to develop clean-energy projects that will help them meet their energy needs efficiently and sustainably, while creating more jobs for people in their communities.

“First Nations are key partners as we work together to build cleaner, more resilient communities and power B.C.’s growing economy with renewable electricity,” said Josie Osborne, B.C.’s Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation. “From roof-top solar to residential heat pumps and large-scale wind generation, the projects receiving funding today will advance Indigenous clean energy and create new opportunities across the province.”

The projects are receiving funding through the BC Indigenous Clean Energy Initiative (BCICEI), a partnership between the Government of Canada, the Province of British Columbia and New Relationship Trust (NRT). This round of BCICEI support includes $7.5 million from PacifiCan and Indigenous Services Canada and $2.3 million from the Government of B.C through its CleanBC plan. The funding will help First Nations develop and implement clean-energy generation, energy efficiency and energy storage projects, creating employment and economic opportunities in their communities.

“New Relationship Trust is dedicated to bolstering First Nations’ leadership in clean energy throughout B.C. These endeavours reduce greenhouse gas emissions, propel economic growth and foster well-being in urban and rural Indigenous communities provincewide,” said Walter Schneider, chief executive officer, NRT. “The BC Indigenous Clean Energy Initiative stands out as a distinctive funding program that is guided by Indigenous leadership and fosters collaboration across various sectors, from government to industry to First Nations organizations.”

The clean-energy projects differ in size and scope.

For example:

  • installation of air-source heat pumps in 70 homes for Sik-E-Dakh Band;
  • installation of a solar PV system on a former fish farm being redeveloped into a research centre for regenerative forestry practices for Kwiakah First Nation; and
  • conducting a feasibility study for a 40-megawatt wind project for Metlakatla First Nation.

To further support First Nations clean-energy projects, the Province, NRT and PacifiCan are about to start work on design of a new funding stream for BCICEI with input from First Nations. It will allow small-scale renewable-energy projects that are ineligible to submit to BC Hydro’s calls for power due to their size, to move forward and contribute to the power grid. The new stream will be funded with $140 million that was first announced in June 2023. This design process will kick off with an engagement period to gather ideas from interested First Nations.

The BCICEI is partially funded by Pacific Economic Development Canada through the Strategic Partnership Initiative (SPI), a unique federal program administered by Indigenous Services Canada and shared by a growing network of more than 20 federal partners. Its innovative whole-of-government approach helps advance Indigenous inclusion in large, complex economic development opportunities that span a range of industry sectors across Canada. SPI provides a way to fill funding gaps that create barriers to Indigenous involvement in economic opportunities. It also promotes partnerships between federal and non-federal groups to leverage additional funding and support for economic development opportunities.


Harjit S. Sajjan, federal Minister of Pacific Economic Development Canada (PacifiCan) –

“The transition to clean-energy sources is critical to Canada’s economic future and Indigenous Peoples have a significant role to play in that future. PacifiCan proudly established the BCICEI in partnership with Indigenous leaders, industry and the Province, and it has already supported 139 Indigenous clean-energy projects and created quality jobs and training opportunities in First Nations communities across B.C.”

Patty Hajdu, federal Minister of Indigenous Services of Canada –

“The BC Indigenous Clean Energy Initiative is a First Nation-led solution that will create good-paying jobs for communities. The renewable energy sector is growing across the world and this initiative will ensure Indigenous Peoples in British Columbia can benefit from this growth. Not only will it contribute to lowering our greenhouse gas emissions, but it will only help build an economy that is fair to everyone.”

Frank Voelker, band manager and economic development officer, Kwiakah First Nation –

“The support from the New Relationship Trust through the BC Indigenous Clean Energy Initiative has been invaluable for our project. It aligns with our priority objective of conserving and protecting our ancestral lands and waters while transitioning toward a stewardship economy. With their assistance, we are transforming a former fish farm into a centre of excellence for the research of regenerative forestry practices. The centre is powered by eco-friendly solar energy ensuring our operations harmonize with the majestic wilderness surrounding us.”

Ryan Leighton, chief operating officer, Metlakatla Development Corporation –

“Metlakatla Development Corporation is developing a 40-megawatt wind project on Mount Hays near Prince Rupert. The BC Indigenous Clean Energy Initiative funding will enable the required due diligence for Metlakatla to advance the project with a goal of submitting a bid to the 2024 clean power call or an alternative off-take option within the region. The funding is very beneficial in helping MDC de-risk the project in the early development phase.”

Quick Facts:

  • Since it started in 2016, BCICEI has funded more than 135 projects with approximately $30 million.
  • In addition to the new stream for small-scale projects to contribute to the power grid, BCICEI is expanding its funding to include community clean-energy planning projects.
  • The details of the funding will be available on the NRT website soon.

Learn More:

To read more about New Relationship Trust, visit:

To read more about PacifiCan, visit:

To read more about the CleanBC Remote Community Energy Strategy, visit:

To read more about CleanBC, visit:

To read more about the 2024 Call for Power, visit:

A backgrounder follows.

Contacts:Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation
Media Relations
250 880-4935

Lynsey Brothers
A/Communications Manager


The BC Indigenous Clean Energy Initiative (BCICEI) provides funding to eligible clean-energy projects through three funding streams.

1. Pre-construction, pre-commercial operating date (two projects)

  • Kwiḵwa̱sut’inux̱w Haxwa’mis First Nation (KHFN)
    • $500,000 toward the installation of a solar-PV system and a 550-kWh battery energy storage system on the Echo Bay Marina and Lodge to replace two diesel generators.
  • Taku River Tlingit First Nation
    • $500,000 toward a storage battery for the existing hydro facility.​

2. Feasibility and site selection, environmental review and permitting, project design and engineering (10 projects)

  • Daylu Dena Council
    • $300,000 toward a feasibility study for a proposed geothermal energy project with the goal of displacing the region’s diesel dependency.
  • Kitsumkalum First Nation
    • $300,000 toward a feasibility study for a 15-megawatt wind project. The study will involve a survey of sites and technologies that can serve the project.
  • Metlakatla First Nation
    • $300,000 toward feasibility studies for a wind project.
  • Musqueam Indian Band
    • $300,000 toward the continuation of feasibility work on a low-carbon district energy system aiming for net-zero operational carbon performance. Additional deliverables will include project design and engineering work for the system.
  • Pacheedaht First Nation
    • $265,080 toward the conceptual design and financial analysis report for a hydropower project.
  • Seabird Island Band
    • $109,065 toward a feasibility and design assessment to evaluate the potential for solar energy generation for the Seabird Island Band elementary school and other facilities.
  • Toquaht Nation
    • $266,100 toward project design and engineering for a 13.5-megawatt cluster of two small hydroelectric prospects and associated transmission lines.
  • West Moberly First Nations
    • $299,404 toward project design and engineering to develop a geothermal facility to supply heat for a commercial scale greenhouse.
  • Yun Ka Whu’ten Forestry
    • $290,740 toward project design and engineering for the Anahim Lake Solar and Energy Storage Project.
  • Aq’am Community Enterprises
    • $162,000 toward project design and engineering for a 15 MWc solar-PV project.​

3. Small-scale installation (non-utility scale), demand-side management (23 projects)

  • Kwadacha Nation
    • $214,500 toward home-energy assessments of 42 homes in the community.
  • Kwakiutl First Nation
    • $300,000 toward a heat pump retrofit project that will replace traditional heating systems with air-source heat pumps for approximately 40 homes.
  • Kwiakah First Nation
    • $235,665 toward a rooftop solar-PV system on a redeveloped former fish farm that was 100% diesel dependent.
  • Lax Kwa’alaams
    • $295,000 toward the installation of a residential rooftop solar-PV system on approximately 25 homes in the community.
  • Malahat Nation
    • $276,227 toward installation of a complete HVAC system as well as energy efficiency upgrades and a solar-PV system.
  • Moytelexw (Sts’ailes Development Corporation)
    • $258,200 toward the installation a rooftop solar-PV system for the Sasquatch Crossing Eco Lodge as part of a new solar-heating system and an upgrade of hydro plant equipment.
  • Namgis First Nation
    • $300,000 toward the installation of heat pumps in 52 homes bringing the multi-phase project total to 115 homes.
  • Peters First Nation
    • $290,000 toward hybrid solar-PV and battery electricity storage systems on five residential carports.
  •  Quatsino First Nation
    • $300,000 toward a 100kW solar-PV system and 13kWh battery storage system for the First Nation’s community hall.
  • Sik-E-Dakh Band (Glen Vowell)
    • $300,000 toward air-source heat-pump installations in 70 homes in the community meaning that all 75 homes in the community have a heat pump.
  • Snuneymuxw First Nation
    • $300,000 toward four new heat pumps installed in the First Nation’s administrative building.
  • Squiala First Nation
    • $295,000 toward 33 homes receiving rooftop solar-PV systems.
  • Tl’etinqox Government
    • $295,000 toward at least 25 homes receiving rooftop solar-PV systems.
  • T’Sou-ke First Nation
    • $285,000 toward a 25kW solar-PV and 100kWh battery energy storage unit on industrial greenhouses and a marine services/manufacturing facility.
  • Tseshaht First Nation
    • $239,940 toward air-source heat pump installations and other energy upgrades in 14 elders’ homes.
  • Yinka Dene Economic Development Corporation
    • $300,000 toward a rooftop solar-PV system on 10 elders’ homes.

Contacts:Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation
Media Relations
250 880-4935

Lynsey Brothers
A/Communications Manager



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