Preparing Remote First Nation Communities for Grid Connection

We are pleased to note that Ontario has launched the Remote Electrification Readiness Program  to help prepare remote diesel-dependent First Nation communities in northwestern Ontario for future connection to the province’s electricity grid.

The deadline to apply is November 14, 2014.

As counsel to the Assembly of First Nations, we advocated in Ontario’s Integrated Power Supply Plan (IPSP) proceeding and subsequent proceedings before the Ontario Energy Board for connection of these communities to the grid, and this was identified as a priority under Ontario’s Long-Term Energy Plan.

The Remote Electrification Readiness program is another step towards that goal.

The program is intended to help eligible communities (25 eligible First Nations communities and Tribal Councils) develop community readiness plans to identify opportunities for job-specific training, relevant health programs, business innovation mentoring and economic development supports.

Connecting up to 21 diesel-reliant First Nations to the grid could result in substantial emissions and costs savings (about $1 billion over the next 40 years) compared to continuing with diesel generation.

Bob Chiarelli, Ontario’s Minister of Energy noted

” Connecting Ontario’s remote northwestern First Nation communities is a priority for the Province. Responsibility for electricity service in remote First Nation communities is shared between the federal and provincial governments and we will continue to work with our federal counterparts to make this project a reality. Connecting remote communities will unlock economic development potential, increase the reliability of electricity service and lead to a cleaner local supply mix.”

QUICK FACTS

  • Applications are being accepted through Grants Ontario until November 14, 2014.
  • The 2014 Budget committed $3 million over three years to the Remote Electrification Readiness Program.
  • The Ontario Power Authority released an updated draft Remote Community Connection Plan and is engaging participating communities to finalize the plan in the near future.
  • There are 25 remote First Nation communities in northwestern Ontario that currently rely on diesel power.
  • Diesel engines emit particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons and air pollutants. This can contribute to smog and adversely impact human health and the environment.
  • A large, diesel-powered community produces more than 10,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents a year. Connecting such a community to Ontario’s transmission system is equivalent to taking almost 2,300 cars off the road.
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One Response to Preparing Remote First Nation Communities for Grid Connection

  1. On its surface, this sounds like a wonderful idea. My concern (given the fact that the present Liberal government is known for its scandals ) is the cost per kwHr that they plan to collect. Given the immense wealth created for the Provence by the “Far North Act”, I would hope that much of that royalty money flows to the rightful owners of the various mineral deposits (such as chromite) – in the form of permanent subsidies for electrical costs. Secondly, given the prevailing weather and climate systems at work in the area, I would hope that local (Oji-Cree only) work forces be trained and paid to maintain this grid. Would that be too much to ask????

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