November 22, 2023
The Ontario government is building more clean energy projects to reduce electricity costs in Indigenous communities by increasing funding for the province’s Indigenous Energy Support Programs by $5 million, bringing the total annual investment to $15 million. 93 projects from across 58 indigenous communities will receive funding from the programs in 2023 which will help promote Indigenous leadership in the electricity sector.
“Our government is building the electricity generation and storage projects we need to provide reliable, affordable and clean electricity across our province, including Indigenous communities,” said Todd Smith, Minister of Energy. “By increasing funding for the Indigenous Energy Support Programs, we are helping more Indigenous communities build capacity to leverage opportunities as our energy grid expands, including building more clean electricity generation projects in their community to keep energy costs down.”
2023 funding from the Indigenous Energy Support Programs, which is administered by the Independent Electricity System Operator, is being provided across four streams.
- 15 Indigenous communities or organizations will receive funding to hire a “Community Energy Champion” to plan, implement and evaluate energy-related projects and priorities.
- 41 projects that will help build more clean electricity projects in Indigenous communities including solar systems, energy storage systems and geothermal energy systems.
- 35 projects will receive funding to help build awareness, and capacity for Indigenous communities to fully leverage electricity sector opportunities.
- Two Indigenous communities will receive funding to update their Community Energy Plans to help improve energy efficiency and reduce electricity consumption.
“Through initiatives like the Indigenous Energy Support Programs, our government is supporting Indigenous communities with capacity building, planning, infrastructure development, as well as valuable skills development opportunities,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Indigenous Affairs. “Establishing strong and lasting partnerships with Indigenous communities is fundamental to advancing meaningful reconciliation and creating long-term economic benefits for Indigenous communities across Ontario.”
Indigenous participation, leadership, and support for energy projects is a key feature of procurement initiatives in Ontario’s energy sector as highlighted in Powering Ontario’s Growth. The Expedited Long-Term Request for Proposals (E-LT1) procurement acquired a total of 880 megawatts (MW) of energy storage with nine of the fifteen previously announced storage projects having at least 50 per cent Indigenous ownership. The Indigenous Energy Support Programs will support this work and ensure that Indigenous communities can fully leverage opportunities in the electricity sector that can create significant, long-term economic benefits.
“Indigenous Nations are crucial partners in the energy transformation,” said Lesley Gallinger, President and CEO of the IESO. “The Energy Support Programs promote Indigenous leadership, participation and community capacity building in the electricity sector, helping to move the needle on energy projects that will support the growth and decarbonization of Ontario’s electricity system.”
- In 2022, the IESO awarded funding for 83 projects across all four programs to 53 Indigenous communities and organizations for a combined total of $9.8 million in funding.
- In July, Ontario released Powering Ontario’s Growth, the government’s plan to meet rising electricity demand driven by economic growth, electrification and a growing population.