Michael McLeod, Member of Parliament for the Northwest Territories, on behalf of Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, Seamus O’Regan, announced over $8 million for eight community-led clean energy projects in the Northwest Territories.

The various projects will support northern and Indigenous communities to build a cleaner future by reducing their reliance on diesel fuel for heat and power while creating jobs.

“The North is feeling the effects of a changing climate more than anywhere else in Canada,” said McLeod. “These community-led projects will support new local economic opportunities while advancing Indigenous participation in a clean energy future.”

The investments include the following:

  • $184,000 to Inuvialuit Regional Corporation to promote energy literacy in the community, renew Inuvialuit dialect and culture, and promote cross-generational learning between Elders and youth on traditional practices, language and sustainability;
  • $797,000 to the Arctic Energy Alliance to build community capacity and energy literacy to support and direct their local Community Energy Planning process;
  • $1.7 million to the Town of Inuvik to install a biomass heating system to replace the diesel boilers that are currently used for heat and provide freeze protection for the municipal water reservoir;
  • $2.6 million to the Tulita Land Corporation to install biomass boilers to heat seven municipal buildings and to establish a forest-based value chain to produce wood chips to fuel the boilers;
  • $500,000 to the Deline Got’ine Government to create a community energy plan that will increase energy efficiency and reduce diesel use, generate local green jobs, introduce a 30kWh solar system for the community’s Grey Goose Lodge hotel and respond to increasingly limited access to the winter road; and
  • $2.25 million to Nihtat Energy Ltd for three projects aimed at replacing diesel-fueled boilers with biomass-heating systems in six public buildings and engaging with Aklavik and other Gwich’in communities in the Northwest Territories to test methods of integrating renewables into isolated grids while maintaining Indigenous participation and building community knowledge on energy planning processes.

The first four projects are funded through Natural Resources Canada’s Clean Energy for Rural and Remote Communities program.

This six-year, $220-million program aims to reduce reliance on diesel in rural and remote communities by deploying and demonstrating renewable energy, encouraging energy efficiency and building local skills and capacity. It is part of the Government of Canada’s Investing in Canada infrastructure plan, a more than $180-billion investment over 12 years in public transit projects, green infrastructure, social infrastructure, trade and transportation routes and Canada’s rural and northern communities.

The fifth project is funded through Impact Canada’s Indigenous Off-diesel Initiative, a $20-million initiative aimed at generating new opportunities by reducing diesel reliance in remote Indigenous communities. Developed in collaboration with Indigenous Clean Energy Social Enterprise and the Pembina Institute, the initiative will support communities to develop ambitious clean energy plans and to break ground on their first clean energy projects.

Nihtat Energy Ltd.’s projects are funded through the Clean Energy for Rural and Remote Communities program and the Indigenous Off-diesel Initiative.

“These initiatives are great examples of governments, utilities and Indigenous organizations collaborating to improve our energy system by investing in proven renewable energy technologies,” said Diane Archie, Minister of Infrastructure, Government of Northwest Territories. “The initiatives have the added bonus of advancing the objectives of our 2030 Energy Strategy and 2030 NWT Climate Change Strategic Framework, as well as stabilizing energy costs and reducing our reliance on diesel in our remote communities.”

“These projects demonstrate how Indigenous communities and businesses, the Northwest Territories Power Corporation and federal and territorial governments can work collaboratively and creatively as partners and lead the way toward a more sustainable energy future,” said Chief Robert Charlie-Tetlichi of Nihtat Energy Ltd.

Featured image: MP Michael McLeod makes the clean energy funding announcement. 

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