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Government of Canada Supports Clean, Renewable Energy With $50-Million Investment for Indigenous-Led Wind Power in Saskatchewan

Press Release

From: Natural Resources Canada

June 29, 2023

Canada is advancing toward a prosperous low-carbon future, and Indigenous communities are at the forefront of seizing clean economic opportunities in every part of the country. The federal government is partnering with Indigenous communities, supporting self-determination and climate action to enable a clean, affordable and reliable grid. This will help deliver renewable power to our homes, businesses and communities.

Today, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Natural Resources, announced a $50-million contribution to the Bekevar Wind Power Project, delivered in partnership with the Cowessess First Nation and Innagreen Investments. This builds on a $173-million federal investment from the Canada Infrastructure Bank.

Located south of Kipling, Saskatchewan, the project location includes turbines located on Cowessess First Nation Land. The project will supply over 200 megawatts (MW) of zero-emissions power, reducing GHG emissions by approximately 130,000 tonnes per year, enough to serve up to 100,000 homes annually. The Bekevar project will consist of 36 turbines; an underground, medium-voltage, electrical collector system; access roads; a substation; two permanent meteorological towers; an operations and maintenance building; and a 10-km long transmission line to connect the project to the provincial grid.

This contribution demonstrates the Government of Canada’s commitment to meaningful participation, ownership and decision-making by Indigenous Peoples in Canada’s energy transition as they expand innovative clean energy solutions to displace fossil fuels, advance self-determination and combat climate change.

The Bekevar project builds upon a previous investment by the federal government of over $18.5 million for the Awasis Solar Project, a 10-megawatt solar facility also owned, operated by and constructed on the land of the Cowessess First Nation. The solar project is currently providing clean power to the provincial power grid and delivering economic benefits to the Cowessess First Nation for years to come.

Quotes

“Today, I announced that the Government of Canada is partnering with the Cowessess First Nation to support an important wind energy project that will supply clean power and provide good, sustainable jobs in Saskatchewan. This $50-million federal contribution is helping to power low-carbon solutions in the region while supporting Indigenous ownership in renewable energy generation. I would like to congratulate the Cowessess First Nation, a leader in clean energy, and Bekevar Wind Limited Partnership, as well as all of those involved in enabling this important initiative.”

Jonathan Wilkinson
Minister of Natural Resources

“For over a decade, the leadership of Cowessess has desired to build and own a utility-scale wind project in Saskatchewan. Today is a day of celebration for our community as we turn sod on the Bekevar Wind project.  Cowessess has so much to celebrate. Through the support of NRCan, Cowessess holds a 17-percent ownership position in the project; there are two turbines located on Cowessess land; we have a contracting company working on the project; and our community members are being sought for employment opportunities. The project offers significant economic benefits to Cowessess First Nation.”

Erica Beaudin
Chief, Cowessess First Nation

“Clean power projects are essential to meeting our climate change goals and ensuring sustainable economic development across the country. Our investment will reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the province through clean power generation. The partnership with a leading owner and operator of renewable energy and with Cowessess First Nation will move this wind power project forward, enabling Indigenous participation and long-term economic opportunities.”

Ehren Cory
CEO, Canada Infrastructure Bank

“We are pleased and excited to be partnered with the Cowessess First Nation on the Bekevar Wind Project, which is a very important project for us. We would also like to thank NRCan for the valuable Smart Renewables and Electrification Pathways Program contribution.”

Oliver Alexander,
CEO, Innagreen Investments

Quick facts

  • Federal funding for this project is provided by Canada’s Smart Renewables and Electrification Pathways Program (SREPs), with up to $1.56 billion over eight years for smart renewable energy and electrical grid modernization projects. This program is actively supporting the scaling of renewable energy capacity that will provide essential grid services while supporting Canada’s ongoing transition to a net-zero economy by 2050 and Canada’s commitment to achieve a 100-percent net-zero-emitting electricity system by 2035.
  • Canada’s 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan: Clean Air, Strong Economy ensures Canada will remain a world leader in clean power. Budget 2023 included $3 billion over 13 years for NRCan, including to recapitalize the Smart Renewables and Electrification Pathways Program, in order to support critical regional priorities and Indigenous-led projects.
  • Budget 2023 also included $40 billion of historic investments in the electricity grids that exist across the country. This vital investment will be delivered in three ways:o    a 15-percent refundable tax credit for non-emitting and fully abated electricity generation and stationary electricity storage systems, including batteries and equipment for the transmission of electricity between provinces and territorieso    $20 billion in low-cost financing from the Canada Infrastructure Banko    targeted electricity programs, including SREPs, where needed, to ensure critical projects get built
  • This program will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions by enabling increased renewable energy capacity that will provide essential grid services while supporting Canada’s ongoing transition to a net-zero economy by 2050 as well as Canada’s commitment to achieving a 100-percent net-zero-emitting electricity system by 2035.

Associated links

Contacts

Natural Resources Canada
Media Relations
343-292-6100
media@nrcan-rncan.gc.ca

Keean Nembhard
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Natural Resources
613-323-7892
keean.nembhard@nrcan-rncan.gc.ca

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