The government of Alberta has announced seven new programs to help the province’s fifty eight First Nations and Eight Metis Settlements go green.
The province is offering grants that would give local governments resources for everything from climate change education, to energy efficiency assessments of buildings, to starting renewable-energy projects and providing job training programs in renewable energy industries. A total of 35 million dollars is available across the seven grants.
“Indigenous communities must be full participants in the efforts to protect our air, land and water and these programs will ensure that communities have the ability to undertake measures locally to help protect the earth by reducing the impacts of a changing climate,” says Minister for Indigenous Relations Richard Feehan.
“Respect for the land is a fundamental value instilled in the Metis people from the day we are born. Our relationship to our land is unique and deeply spiritual – one that casts us as stewards of a great blessing bestowed by the creator,” says president, Metis Settlements General Council Gerald Cunningham. “Our land is the beginning of everything. It feeds us, shelters us, clothes us, and in return, we honour it, we protect it, and we endeavor to leave it better than we found it for the next generation. Given how deeply we feel our connection to our land and environment, we are very pleased to see that the Government of Alberta is taking action to tackle the serious challenges presented by climate change.”
Alberta has divided the grant programs into three categories:
Planning and capacity-building programs:
- The Alberta Indigenous Climate Capacity Program – grants will help Indigenous communities and organizations increase climate-change awareness and understanding of climate leadership through a variety of activities, including train-the-trainer sessions and climate literacy sessions. ($2.5 million)
- The Alberta Indigenous Climate Planning Program – grants can be used by Indigenous communities to establish an understanding of local opportunities related to energy production and conservation through the development of Community Energy Plans and Energy Opportunity Assessments. ($2.5 million)
- The Alberta Community Energy Program – grants are available for Indigenous communities and organizations to determine how energy is being used in their buildings and to identify opportunities to save energy and energy costs through the development of comprehensive building audits. This program began as a pilot last year and is now extended. ($3 million)
Implementation and asset programs:
- The Alberta Indigenous Energy Efficiency (Retrofit) Program – grants are available for projects that improve energy efficiency in new or existing buildings owned by Indigenous communities or organizations. Grants may be used to cover the costs of upgraded lighting, heating, ventilation and air conditioning system redesign, windows, insulation and roofing. ($14 million)
- The Alberta Indigenous Green Energy Development Program – grants are available to develop commercial-scale, renewable-energy projects aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and allowing communities to meet their local energy needs and sell any excess energy into Alberta’s energy grid. ($8 million)
- The Alberta Indigenous Solar Program – grants will assist Indigenous communities to install solar photovoltaic systems on facilities owned by the community or organizations. This program began as a pilot last year is now extended. ($3 million)
Training and employment:
- The Alberta Indigenous Green Employment Program – grants may be used by community-based training organizations for employment and training projects aimed at promoting low-carbon economy employment opportunities (such as, solar panel installer, wind turbine technician, spray foam insulator etc.) for Indigenous peoples. ($2 million)