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Ontario’s IESO funding 61 Indigenous communities and organizations’ energy initiatives


May 17, 2021
By Anthony Capkun


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May 17, 2021 – Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) is providing $7.1 million in funding to 61 Indigenous communities and organizations to support energy planning, renewable generation and energy efficiency measures, as well as skills development and training.

By building local capacity, the funding will help enable Indigenous communities and organizations to manage their energy costs, and support opportunities for their participation in the electricity sector, says IESO.

A range of projects are being funded through IESO’s Energy Support Programs, including a number of projects that will help non-grid-connected communities accelerate their transition from diesel generation to renewables and/or energy storage, thereby reducing GHG emissions and improving local resilience.

Several funded projects also demonstrate “a high degree of innovation”, says the agency, and will enable funding recipients “to meet energy, environmental and social objectives”:

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• Funding will enable Garden River First Nation to develop affordable solar-powered tiny homes for vulnerable single members of the community.

• At-risk youth in Wabaseemoong Independent Nations will benefit from a paid energy-oriented employment, skills and training program delivered by the Wabaseemoong Youth Green Living Initiative.

• 15 new Community Energy Champions will be hired, trained and given the opportunity to develop and execute local energy projects, which may include energy efficiency measures that improve building performance, conserve energy and lower customers’ energy costs.

• Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services (OAHS) will form a trained energy team to implement a comprehensive energy plan for urban and rural Indigenous people living off-reserve in Ontario.

• Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve will design and develop a unique solar-powered tri-generation system to provide heating, cooling and electricity.

• Lac des Mille Lacs First Nation will be able to assess the feasibility of co-developing a major transmission line, which has the potential to generate new revenue.

A full list of funding recipients follows (PDF download):

backgrounder-ESP-funding-recipients-2020

Since the inception of the programs in 2009, IESO says it has provided $44.8 million in funding to 164 unique Indigenous communities and organizations. The next funding window will open near the end of Q2 2021.

For more information about the programs—including eligibility criteria—contact Indigenous.Relations@ieso.ca.

IESO also offers a suite of energy efficiency programs for Indigenous customers under the Save on Energy brand, with new or updated programs made available on a regular basis. More details will be available later this year.

“These are transformative projects, and we are pleased to work with funding recipients to create new opportunities and drive meaningful change that supports their identified priorities,” said IESO’s interim president & CEO, Terry Young.