Published on: April 29, 2021

Indigenous communities and organizations across Ontario are moving forward with plans to transform how they meet their energy needs, choosing cleaner, more reliable and more affordable options. To that end, the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) is providing $7.1 million in funding to 61 recipients that will support energy planning, renewable generation, 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. A broad range of projects are being funded through the IESO’s Energy Support Programs. These include a large number of projects that will help non-grid-connected communities accelerate the transition away from diesel generation by installing renewable generation and/or energy storage, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving local resilience.

Several funded projects also demonstrate a high degree of innovation, and will enable funding recipients to meet energy, environmental and social objectives. For example:

  • 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

“OAHS is extremely excited to be a part of two amazing programs offered through the IESO. We cannot overstate the positive impacts expected as a result of the Community Energy Champion Program and the Education and Capacity Building Program,” said Dan Gartshore, Technical Services Manager, Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services. “Through education and improvements, we believe our Energy Plan will take major strides towards reducing energy costs both short and long term for the thousands of people we serve. Not only will these programs have an immediate impact to our tenants but they will also create employment, educate staff, reduce emissions and extend the life cycle of our units.”

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