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Island First Nations can receive clean energy funding

Clean energy projects led by Island First Nations will be eligible for funding from the province.

The province says Indigenous communities can apply for up to $50,000 in funding for access to clean energy projects this year through the First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund (FNCEBF).

The FNCEBF also provides up to $500,000 for clean-energy projects, as much as $150,000 in equity funding toward community energy projects and as much as $50,000 in capacity funding for projects like community energy planning, according to a government news release.

They will be taking applications for the funding until Jan. 31, 2022.

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In 2021, ten Island First Nations received a total of $809,471 in funding. The funding was handed out for a variety of projects from hydro to heat pumps.

The Uchucklesaht Tribe near Port Alberni received $49,708 in funding for the Uchuck Creek hydro project. The tribe says this project is being done because of demand for their electricity system as residents return.

“For several years, Uchucklesaht’s village population has been limited by poor housing conditions. In the past two years, Uchucklesaht was able to secure funding to rebuild the historic village. As more people are returning home, the demands on the diesel system, which provides electricity for the village, is getting higher,” said Ryan Anaka, director of lands and resources and deputy CAO for Uchucklesaht Tribe Government.

The province says this will also allow the community to switch from relying on diesel generators and bring back the quietness of the community.

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“Funding for this project will help Uchucklesaht become more self-sufficient, reduce dependence on diesel-burning generators, reduce maintenance requirements and help bring quietness back to the village,” added Anaka.

Other projects include energy consumption and saving plans, heat pump installations, and capacity plans.

Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation Murray Rankin says the funding will be helpful in Indigenous participation in the clean energy sector.

Funding totalled $3.8 million across B.C. in 2021, according to the province. To apply for funding, visit the FNCEBF website.

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