British Columbia Indigenous Clean Energy Initiative

Authors: Caolan Lemke, Chad Eggerman, Nathan Cramer

The British Columbia Indigenous Clean Energy Initiative is a funding source for clean energy projects that encourages First Nations to participate in the clean energy sector within their communities.

The initiative has annual intake deadlines. The next intake deadline is February 1, 2021.

The initiative is funded through the Federal Government’s Strategic Partnership Initiative, together with British Columbia’s CleanBC plan. It is administered by British Columbia’s New Relationship Trust, an independent, non-profit organization which focuses on assisting British Columbia’s First Nations with funding community engagement projects.

Eligibility under the initiative is limited to Indigenous communities, including self-governing First Nations, tribal councils and Indigenous for-profit and non-profit organizations which are majority-owned and controlled by First Nation communities in relation to clean energy projects located within British Columbia.

Demand for funding under the initiative is high and applications are given additional weight depending on factors including project readiness and viability, evidence that the project will create opportunities for Indigenous communities to increase self-sufficiency, or demonstrating that the project will support remote communities with energy-access challenges.

Six categories of funding (based on type of project and stage) are available under the initiative:

Funding Category & Timing Maximum Amount Purpose
Feasibility and Site Selection $300,000 Investigating potential projects (site and resource assessments), project design, business plan development, detailed cost estimates, etc.
Environmental Review and Permitting Costs for obtaining permits and approvals, land surveys, land rights, etc.
Project Design and Engineering Engaging with project proponents including preparing and issuing tender documents, negotiating and establishing contracts and other legal agreements, and conducting other pre-construction activities
Demand Side Management $150,000 Funding studies related to the design of energy efficient building systems or models and energy performance modelling
Clean Energy

(Small-scale/non-utility projects)

$150,000 Installation of small-scale clean energy projects (100KW or less) or community-owned energy generation (reducing grid-dependency)
Pre-Construction/Pre-Commercial Operating Date $500,000 Projects with existing energy purchase agreement(s) or impact benefit agreement(s) expected to generate significant revenue for the community

To date, the Initiative has contributed more than $2.5 million toward First Nations clean energy projects, and in August 2019, the Federal Government, the Province of British Columbia and the New Relationship Trust pledged an additional $9.5 million in renewed funding.

MLT Aikins can help First Nations assess their eligibility and navigate the application process in respect of this unique source of clean energy project funding. Visit our Aboriginal and energy industry pages to learn more about our team and our work in these areas.

Note: This article is of a general nature only. Laws and government programs may change over time and should be interpreted only in the context of particular circumstances such that these materials are not intended to be relied upon or taken as legal advice or opinion. Readers should consult a legal professional for specific advice in any particular situation.