The Honourable Seamus O’Regan Jr., Minister of Natural Resources in Canada, announced Wednesday that Grant Sullivan, current President of Nihtat Energy Ltd., will receive $800,000 in prize funding to begin implementing a community clean energy project.
NEL will use the prize to pursue a series of staged developments in the Beaufort Delta region, Northwest Territories (NWT) in 2021 and 2022.
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Nihtat Energy: awarded to keep a sustainable trajectory
Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, Seamus O’Reagan, announced today that Grant Sullivan, one of 14 Indigenous Off-Diesel Initiative (IODI) Energy Champions and current president of Nihtat Energy Ltd. (NEL), has been awarded with $800,00 in funding. This prize is expected to be used by the company to implement community clean energy projects.
According to NEL, it will use the money to upgrade a series of developments in the Beaufort Delta region. These projects include implementation and training for a solar project at the Inuvik Satellite Station Facility (ISSF) site near Inuvik in 2021. The planning for a 1MW grid-connected solar farm in Inuvik will begin in 2021 and be completed in 2022.
“Indigenous people and communities are leaders in Canada’s clean growth future. By working together with them, we’re getting good projects off the ground — and great results,” said Seamus O’Regan Jr, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources.
In a press release, Canada’s administration pointed out Indigenous communities, governments, organizations, and businesses are at the forefront of climate change impacts. According to the government, particularly those communities located in northern and isolated regions are the ones best suited to take action toward a clean energy future.
“Building strong partnerships with Indigenous governments, communities and organizations is critical to advancing the objectives of the Government of the Northwest Territories 2030 Energy Strategy including to develop a more affordable, secure and sustainable energy system in the NWT,” said Diane Archie, Minister of Infrastructure, Government of Northwest Territories and for the Northwest Territories Power Corporation
“The GNWT and NTPC look forward to working with Nihtat Energy to create a model for independent renewable energy generation that supports Indigenous business while helping to stabilize energy costs and reduce GHG emissions,” the minister added.
Community-led clean energy projects
In this regard, the Government of Canada is investing in community-led clean energy projects. With remote Indigenous communities, the government is engaging in a series of investments prioritizing a transition away from diesel while supporting reconciliation and self-determination.
Most diesel for heat and power is consumed by the Inuvik community in the Northwest Territories (NWT). Thus, renewable energy projects in the NWT help communities realize many positive benefits; creating a new revenue stream, enhancing local training and employment, and supporting energy security.
Ken Smith, Grand Chief at the Gwich’in Tribal Council, said: “The Gwich’in Tribal Council supports innovative energy projects developed by our Gwich’in participants, like Grant Sullivan, for the benefit of our communities. These projects demonstrate how Indigenous communities and businesses, the Northwest Territories Power Corporation; and federal and territorial governments can work collaboratively and creatively as partners and lead the way toward a more sustainable energy future for the North.”
Those same benefits are aligned with the Government of Canada’s and the Northwest Territories’ priorities. “With support from the Northwest Territories Power Corporation, this project is a great example of collaboration between Indigenous communities, utilities, and governments,” the administration stated.
Furthermore, IODI is a $20-million Impact Canada Initiative, which main focus is to generate new opportunities by reducing diesel reliance in remote Indigenous communities. The initiative was designed based on 18 months of engagement with rights holders, Indigenous organizations, and stakeholders.
Indigenous Clean Energy Social Enterprise and the Pembina Institute are the associations behind the deliverance of the initiative. “By working together with these partners, the IODI not only supports the development of clean energy projects but also bolsters Indigenous leadership in Canada’s cleaner future,” the administration added.