Albertans will see new jobs, more private-sector investment and increased green power generation as the next phase of the Renewable Electricity Program focuses on partnerships with Indigenous communities, according to an Alberta government press release.

The highly competitive opening round of the program attracted about $1 billion of private-sector investment in green power generation in Alberta.

The Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) is preparing to open the second and third series of competitions, which will add approximately 700 megawatts of renewable energy, or enough to power nearly 300,000 homes.

The second round of competition will see companies partner with Indigenous communities to provide 300 megawatts of renewable power.

Each bid will have a minimum Indigenous equity component, which can include an ownership stake in the project or land use agreement between the company and the community.

“Alberta isn’t just a leader in oil and gas, we’re a leader in renewable energy, too. Today’s announcement recognizes the valuable work of Indigenous communities in advancing our province’s transition to renewable electricity,” said Shannon Phillips, minister of environment.

“Our made-in-Alberta plan is getting results, as we see more investment in renewables generate low-cost green power, create good jobs and diversify the economy.”

The third round of the program will add about 400 megawatts of renewable electricity and follow the same open competition format as round one, which saw strong investor confidence and achieved a record-low price for renewable energy in Canada, says Phillips.

“Every day, Indigenous peoples see the effects of climate change first-hand. We need to stand up, be heard and take action on this issue because it impacts everyone. This round of the Renewable Electricity Program supports our communities’ efforts in developing renewable projects. Working together, we can create a better life for everybody – Indigenous peoples and Albertans,” said Rupert Meneen, Grand Chief, Treaty 8.

AESO, which administers the program, is expected to open both auction-style competitions this spring with successful bidders announced by the end of 2018.

“Our relationship to our traditional lands and to our communities is one that is deeply rooted in our spirituality and in our culture. We must build unique partnerships that create opportunity for our people, respect our role in decision-making and honour our responsibility to protect our environment,” said Gerald Cunningham, president, Metis Settlements General Council.

“The Government of Alberta’s Renewable Electricity Program has tremendous potential to do these things and to increase Indigenous participation in the green economy.”

As Alberta’s electricity sector evolves, the Alberta government will continue a collaborative dialogue with Indigenous leaders on how best to support long-term Indigenous participation in the electricity sector and the Renewable Electricity Program.

In total, the program will support the development of 5,000 megawatts of renewable electricity capacity to reach a target of 30 per cent renewable energy by 2030.

At the 2018 Alberta & Saskatchewan Renewable Energy Finance Summit, a First Nations panel for establishing a framework for Indigenous Partnerships, had suggestions for companies on how to approach First Nations on partnerships and things to keep in mind in discussions.

  • Companies should know beforehand which First Nations group land they plan to build on
  • Each First Nations group throughout Canada is different, do not assume or expect them to be same
  • Respect the traditions of the First Nations group
  • Offering a stake/ownership in projects on First Nations land is important