New federal investments announced for British Columbia Indigenous Clean Energy Initiative

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VANCOUVER, COAST SALISH TERRITORY, BC, Dec. 12, 2022 /CNW/ – As part of Canada’s commitments to reconciliation and the Strengthened Climate Plan, the federal government is working alongside First Nations, provincial and industry partners to support the British Columbia Indigenous Clean Energy Initiative (BCICEI).

Today, new investments of $10 million were announced for the BCICEI by Patty Hajdu, Federal Minister of Indigenous Services, Harjit S. Sajjan, Federal Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada, and Walter Schneider, CEO of the New Relationship Trust.

The BCICEI supports the development of clean energy projects in First Nations communities throughout British Columbia, while ensuring ownership, revenue sharing, local employment, and business development benefits are built into the process. The BCICEI initiative helps create opportunities for communities to increase self sufficiency while supporting remote, off-grid and end of line communities seeking to reduce dependency on conventional diesel power generation.

Since its inception in 2016, the BCICEI has seen success, supporting projects that have reduced over 400,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions, equivalent to taking over 128,000 cars off the road for a year. The initiative has also funded projects that together generate over 100,000 MWh annually, enough clean energy to power over 3,600 homes.

The federal government’s new contribution of $10 million announced today flows through Indigenous Services Canada and will support initiatives such as the Hesquiaht Ahtaapq Creek Hydropower project. This First Nation-owned and operated hydropower facility and solar farm will provide clean energy to replace diesel and will save the community over $600,000 a year in diesel and maintenance costs.


“The announcement ensures we can continue the momentum and success of the BCICEI and further our collaborative partnership with Canada and industry to ramp up clean energy capacity in First Nation communities across BC. The New Relationship Trust believes the BCICEI has created a leading model to support First Nations in their clean energy transition through a lens of energy and economic reconciliation that honors each community and their vision of their own clean energy future, resiliency, and sustainability.”

Walter Schneider

CEO of the New Relationship Trust

“BCICEI has been and continues to provide support, opportunities, and funding to communities that express interest in clean energy projects. BCICEI organizationally, with a strong First Nations Advisory Committee, sets the bar for inclusion and not only hearing what First Nations have to say, but actively listening to and implementing the advice provided. BCICEI’s success in creating opportunities for Indigenous Communities, like my own, to increase self-sufficiency, generate revenue, and build capacity with clean energy projects is representative of how well they work with First Nation’s communities.”

Peter Kirby

Indigenous Community Leader, Tlingit First Nation

“The British Columbia Indigenous Clean Energy Initiative is the gold standard when it comes to government, Indigenous organizations and industry working together to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and bring clean energy to First Nations. Since 2016, the BCICEI has reduced diesel consumption by almost 3 million litres, created more than 1,200 jobs and generated more than $16 million in revenue for First Nations communities in the province. The New Relationship Trust’s administration and leadership has ensured the initiative’s success. Today’s announcement of $10 million in new federal investment will create more jobs and more revenue for communities and help us reach carbon emission targets – a true win for everyone.

The Honourable Patty Hajdu

Minister of Indigenous Services

“The Government of Canada is committed to clean energy development and reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples. Through this renewed BCICEI funding, PacifiCan continues to support the creation of jobs in Indigenous communities while reducing their reliance on non-renewable fuels.”

The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan

Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada

Quick facts
  • The BCICEI began operating in 2016. The application process for 2022-2023 will open in December 2022.
  • In 2021-2022, Canada provided a $6.4 million top up to the BCICEI. In 2022-2023, Canada renewed the BCICEI for 2022-2023 and 2023-2024 with an additional $3.6 million in funding.
  • To date, over $18 million has been invested in the BCICEI. This funding has supported 93 clean energy projects, created 1,273 jobs, generated $16.4 million in revenue for British Columbia First Nations and created $20 million in First Nations equity.
  • Over the past three years, the Province of BC has provided $5 million in funding through its CleanBC Strategy to support the BCICEI.
  • The New Relationship Trust (NRT) is an independent non-profit organization dedicated to strengthening First Nations in British Columbia through capacity building. The NRT invests in British Columbia First Nations by supporting them in five key capacity development areas: Governance capacity, Education, Language, Youth & Elders, and Economic development.
  • Budget 2021 provided $36 million over three years, starting in 2021–22, through the Strategic Partnerships Initiative (SPI), which is administered by Indigenous Services Canada (ISC), to build capacity for local, economically sustainable clean energy projects in First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities and support economic development opportunities.
  • The BCICEI is supported by an Advisory Committee made up of industry, First Nation leaders in the clean energy sector, BC Hydro and the federal and provincial governments. A key role of the Advisory Committee is to review the clean energy investment recommendations by NRT to ensure priorities and activities both align with the province’s electricity needs, as well as create viable clean energy opportunities for Indigenous communities across BC.
  • Additional partners include Natural Resources Canada, Clean Energy BC, and individual First Nations.
Associated links

Strategic Partnerships Initiative

New Relationship Trust

Clean energy in Indigenous, rural and remote communities

Canada’s Strengthened Climate Plan

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SOURCE Indigenous Services Canada

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