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May 2, 2014
The recently released Ontario Budget identified $3 million in funding over three years through the Remote Electrification Readiness Program.
From the 2014 Ontario Budget:
Preparing Remote First Nation Communities for Electricity Transmission
To help ensure remote First Nation communities can more fully benefit from new transmission projects in their area, Ontario will provide $3 million in funding over three years through the Remote Electrification Readiness Program. This will help them prepare for the advantages that connections to the grid will bring. The program will include job-specific training, relevant health programs, business innovation mentoring, and economic development supports. The program will support the goals of Ontario’s new Long-Term Energy Plan, which identified connecting remote northwestern First Nation communities to the electricity grid as a priority for the Province.
Electricity service in remote First Nation communities in northwestern Ontario is currently supplied by local diesel generators. According to the Ontario Power Authority, diesel generation typically costs three to ten times more than the average cost of the provincial supply mix.
Connecting remote northwestern First Nation communities to the Ontario electricity grid is a priority and would support stronger, healthier northern remote communities by reducing barriers to growth, increasing economic development opportunities, improving social and living conditions for residents, providing cleaner air and reduced greenhouse gas emissions, reducing future environmental remediation liabilities associated with diesel fuel spills, and ensuring more reliable electricity supply.
The federal government must work with the Province to establish a funding agreement for cost-sharing of investments to connect remote First Nation communities.
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