Ottawa and First Nations Work Together On Clean Energy


By Neil Thomson

December 12, 2013

The Federal government has given Saskatchewan’s First Nations Power Authority (FNPA) a cash boost to develop technology that provides secure power in remote areas.

FNPA is a not-for‐profit organization headquartered in Regina, Saskatchewan, that works to facilitate the development of Saskatchewan First Nations‐led renewable power projects and promote First Nations participation in procurement opportunities with SaskPower.

The Minister of Western Economic Diversification, Michelle Rempel, made the announcement that Ottawa would provide $300,000 to help fund demonstrations of renewable power generation. Rempel noted that Saskatchewan is an ideal place to test small-scale renewable energy projects, one of which is a solar powered generating station in southern Saskatchewan working with the File Hills Qu'Appelle Tribal Council. The site is ideally suited because of the large amount of energy it gets from the sun every year.

Edmund Bellegarde from the File Hills tribal council noted that renewable power generation is something that first nations can relate to easily. "This type of energy development certainly aligns with all of our traditional teachings and teachings of our elders — how we look for sustainable energy sources and ... also sustain Mother Earth." This sentiment can be transferred to other First Nations throughout Canada and represents a significant opportunity for project developers and participants.

Power Authority chairman Ben Voss also shared a positive sentiment about the project. "When you have industry partnerships, you create all this private investment that goes with it, the job creation. And that's really what drives First Nations' desire to be in it because, if they can own part of it and create some jobs out of it, it's like a win-win."

SaskPower and the solar fuel cell division of Lockheed Martin are also part of the southern Saskatchewan project.