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Clean energy powers Indigenous-led projects on Vancouver Island, central coast

Press Release

April 27, 2023

PORT ALBERNI – Indigenous communities on Vancouver Island and the central coast are heading clean-energy projects with B.C. government funding, which will lower utility costs and contribute to more economic opportunities and stable telecommunications in emergencies.

Indigenous communities are partnering with the Province to develop projects that align with the CleanBC plan to reduce climate-changing emissions. Through the First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund (FNCEBF), the Province is providing three communities in the region with nearly $900,000.

The FNCEBF supports clean-energy projects led by Indigenous communities, such as harnessing solar energy, installing heat pumps and energy-efficiency planning. In this round of funding, nine First Nation partners provincewide received more than $1.4 million through the fund, which includes nearly $1 million of one-time funding for projects.

New projects from this round of funding in the regions:

  • Tseshaht First Nation will install a new heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) system in the Tribal Multiplex and Health Centre, which will improve comfort for people with an automated control system and reduce operating costs ($500,000);
  • Heiltsuk Nation will add heat pumps to 75 community members’ homes, providing clean and affordable heating systems ($350,000); and
  • Huu-ay-aht First Nations will develop a community energy plan to address regular power outages and inefficient heating for community members, improving costs and quality of life ($49,639).

Indigenous communities can benefit from economic opportunities in their territories by participating in the clean-energy sector and the FNCEBF program.

Quick Facts:

  • Since the FNCEBF began, more than 150 Indigenous communities have benefited from more than $20 million in capacity and equity funding for projects focused on clean energy, energy efficiency, fuel switching and feasibility studies.
  • Currently, 46 First Nations benefit from 71 clean-energy revenue-sharing agreements with B.C. that are based on new incremental revenues to government derived from water rentals and land rents.

Learn More:

First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund:

Clean Energy BC:

A backgrounder follows.


Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation
Media Relations
236 478-0966


What people are saying about Indigenous-led clean-energy projects

Murray Rankin, Minster of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation –

“The B.C. government is working in partnership with First Nations to build a better future that advances reconciliation and supports resilient communities on Vancouver Island and the central coast. The First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund helps develop projects, like the Heiltsuk Nation’s heat-pump project, as we work together on a low-carbon future.”

Josie Osborne, Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation –

“Through our CleanBC Plan, we are supporting investments and projects that help communities reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase energy efficiency, stimulate economic activity and promote partnerships that advance British Columbia’s growing clean-energy sector. It’s great to see First Nations on the central coast and Vancouver Island leading renewable energy projects to meet their electricity demand, reduce air pollution, improve environmental outcomes and create local jobs.”

George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy –

“Through the CleanBC Roadmap to 2030, our government is working to build a cleaner, better future for us all. In partnership with Indigenous Peoples, these clean-energy projects will support First Nations communities to improve air quality, reduce carbon-related pollution and increase their energy independence.”

Chief Marilyn Slett, Heiltsuk Nation –

“The heat pumps are one of better solutions for our Nation. The fact is, in the winter, our homes are being kept warm, and in the summer, we have the option of cooling our homes. Our Nation sees the benefits in being energy efficient.”

Wahmeesh (Ken Watts), Elected Chief Councillor, Tseshaht First Nation –

“Tseshaht First Nation says ‘Kleco,Kleco’ to the Province of British Columbia for stepping up and supporting our First Nation in through the First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund in alignment with our community energy plan and our goals of looking after our territory, the environment and creating a cleaner and greener, more efficient community by improving energy efficiency in our infrastructure. By installing a new HVAC system in our Nation’s community administration building, we will not only significantly improve energy efficiency but also create a safer and healthier environment for the staff who work there and our guests.”

John Jack, executive council member, Huu-ay-aht First Nations –

“Green energy is a cornerstone of responsible governance for Huu-ay-aht and British Columbia. As the world grapples with climate change, we need to invest in alternative sources of energy to positively affect change, but also to create redundancy and reliability for rural and remote locales, such as Huu-ay-aht territory. The sorts of projects we are working on together with Barkley Group help achieve these aims.”

Jennifer Rice, MLA for North Coast –

“I am so pleased to see this clean-energy funding going to such deserving places. Updating energy projects is critical to the safety and protection of our communities, and for projects to be led by Nations, such as the Heiltsuk, makes me confident that the work is in the right hands.”


Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation
Media Relations
236 478-0966


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