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Plugging the gaps in the Indigenous electric highway – National Observer

November 15th 2023

Paving the way to an Indigenous electric highway in Canada offers opportunities, but also includes navigating communities’ unique needs and potential obstacles, especially in rural and remote areas, experts say.

Indigenous communities are well aware of the economic development and revenue opportunities tied to electric charging infrastructure, like boosting tourism, economic development and green jobs with the transition away from fossil fuels, said Jessica Tait, co-ordinator of Indigenous Clean Energy’s (ICE) Charge Up program.

Shifting to sustainable transportation also meshes with many communities’ core principles.

Many Indigenous groups have environmental goals that align with their traditional cultural values,” Tait said. “EVs can be part of their goal to reduce emissions, reduce noise pollution, boost adoption and to continue to be leaders and stewards of the land, waters and air.”

However, rural or remote Indigenous communities often face additional roadblocks compared to urban areas. They include extreme cold, difficult road conditions, greater upfront costs, limited electrical grids, spotty or non-existent Internet and less access to EV vehicles and the associated hardware, expertise and services to set up charging infrastructure, she said.

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