Twelve First Nations communities throughout British Columbia are receiving $7.1 million to develop alternative-energy projects and advance energy efficiency through the province’s Community Energy Diesel Reduction (CEDR) program, a CleanBC initiative.
“Our CleanBC goal is to cut back diesel consumption for power generation in distant communities by 80% by 2030,” said Josie Osborne, B.C.’s Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation. “By constructing partnerships and creating opportunities with Indigenous communities and businesses, we may help people living in B.C.’s hardest-to-reach communities get monetary savings, develop into less depending on fossil fuels and profit from cleaner air and water.”
The energy projects range in size and scope, from $350,000 for the development of a biomass combined heat-and-power system for the Lhoozk’uz Dene Nation (Quesnel area), to $2 million to develop and construct a two-megawatt solar farm on Haida Gwaii’s northern grid that may include battery storage.
“Making the switch from diesel fuel to renewable energy to heat your house or power your lights could be a challenge, especially in case you live in a distant or isolated community,” said George Heyman, B.C.’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “This funding will help First Nations make the shift to cleaner energy alternatives, which can reduce emissions and create economic opportunities of their communities.”
The $29-million, three-year CEDR program goals to cut back distant communities’ reliance on diesel fuel, and to support projects focused on energy efficiency and/or those who provide clean, reliable energy 12 months round in areas not serviced by grid electricity. CEDR is an element of the Province’s Distant Community Energy Strategy.
British Columbia has 44 distant communities, most of that are governed by First Nations. Lots of these communities are served by BC Hydro in non-grid integrated areas. Some First Nations own and operate their very own diesel generators. In 2019, the distant communities consumed at the very least 19.1 million litres of diesel, emitting the equivalent of 51,784 tonnes of carbon dioxide.
The CEDR program provides funding for clean-energy initiatives to eligible distant communities which might be off-grid residential regions that depend on diesel fuel for electricity generation. Distant communities can apply to 3 funding streams to support them as they progress through various stages of their planning and implementation of their decarbonization projects. This can help to make sure distant communities have financial supports throughout the life cycle of their energy projects, whether or not it’s at first, early, mid or late stages of planning, or implementation of their decarbonization projects.
To deliver the CEDR program, the province has partnered with the Latest Relationship Trust to facilitate investments with distant communities for community energy planning, energy-efficiency projects, and renewable-energy infrastructure. As well as, Coast Funds is working with the trust to support applications from First Nations with communities within the Great Bear Rainforest and Haida Gwaii that depend on diesel to fulfill their electricity needs.
“We have a good time the continued momentum of clean-energy projects being initiated by First Nation communities. The creation of the CEDR Program and its successful launch, intake and funding to 12 First Nation communities is an exemplary model of a working partnership between the B.C. government, the Latest Relationship Trust and other Indigenous-led program delivery organizations,” said Walter Schneider, chief executive officer, Latest Relationship Trust.
A second round of CEDR program funding will likely be announced shortly, and applicants are encouraged to attach with the Latest Relationship Trust and Coast Funds for more details and assistance. Coast Funds and the trust work with all eligible First Nations and distant communities to develop strong proposals that maximize access to CEDR program funding.
CleanBC is a pathway to a more prosperous, balanced and sustainable future. It supports government’s commitment to climate motion to fulfill B.C.’s emission targets and construct a cleaner, stronger economy.
“The Clean BC-CEDR program is a big improvement in government support for distant First Nations communities. Today, it is clear that senior governments are serious about diesel reduction for electricity generation,” said David Benton, clean-energy lead, Gitga’at First Nation of Hartley Bay.
“They’ve structured their programs with staff to help in preparing application support materials, completing applications and navigating multiple funding programs across governments and departments. Increasing our capability and the moral support is a game changer.”
For a listing of funding opportunities for clean-energy projects led by Indigenous Nations and native governments, visit: