M’Chigeeng First Nation, Sheshegwaning receive funding for energy support programs

MANITOULIN—Two Manitoulin Island First Nations, Sheshegwaning and M’Chigeeng, have each received funding toward energy support programs.

The Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) has announced an investment of $4.8 million to a total of 47 recipients through its Indigenous Energy Support Programs. The IESO is also launching the new Save on Energy First Nations Community Building Retrofit Program, which provides $100,000 in funding to on-reserve communities for energy-efficiency projects.

The Indigenous-led projects receiving funding will help develop renewable generation, electric-vehicle charging, energy-efficiency measures, community energy planning as well as skills development and training opportunities for youth. These projects include M’Chigeeng First Nation. The funding will allow the community to conduct a technical feasibility study and legal due diligence assessment of a potential partnership with cement company Lafarge to explore a renewable project to offset diesel use on Manitoulin Island.

The Sheshegwaning First Nation has received funding towards installing 20 kW net-metered solar systems on two band buildings to reduce energy costs and reinvest savings back into community infrastructure.

Chris Savage, community energy champion for Sheshegwaning explained the 20-kW net-metered solar systems “will basically be going on the band office and the health centre building, with 10 kW each and 350 volts providing ample power back into the grid, so our energy costs will be reduced dramatically.”

“Yes, the community will still be on the grid, but the amount of electricity generation will be off our bills,” said Mr. Savage. “We are looking for the end of October for the solar system to be up and running.”

“Indigenous communities are growing their leadership in major energy projects and actively participating in Ontario’s electricity sector,” said Lesley Gallinger, president and CEO, IESO. “They are also doing an incredible job building local capacity, creating new opportunities for youth and jobs in their communities. We are pleased to have these programs in place and are committed to continuing our work with Indigenous communities and organizations and engaging in conversations that will support their energy, environmental and social objectives.”

“Our government is proud to support this investment of $4.8 million in 47 Indigenous-led energy projects that will create tremendous opportunities for communities across the province to utilize renewable generation and energy-efficiency. By advancing work on this critical infrastructure this funding is also supporting communities as they build local capacity, contribute to the electricity grid and further innovation in our energy sector,” said Todd Smith, Minister of Energy.