Ottawa – The Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, today announced a contribution to the Aboriginal Energy Partnership to establish a new fund that will support Aboriginal involvement in renewable energy hydro projects in BC.
“Our Government is committed to encouraging Aboriginal participation in resource and energy projects across Canada,” said Minister Strahl. “Through this unique approach, we are maximizing the benefits of our investment in Aboriginal economic development by leveraging capital from the private sector and other partners.”
The Aboriginal Energy Partnership will work with Ecotrust Canada to establish the First Nation Regeneration Fund. This new fund will provide financing to Aboriginal businesses and communities in British Columbia to purchase an equity stake in run-of-river hydro projects, which produce renewable energy.
The Aboriginal Energy Partnership is a new partnership between two Aboriginal capital corporations, Tale’awtxw Aboriginal Capital Corporation and Tribal Resources Investment Corporation. Ecotrust Canada Capital, a subsidiary corporation of Ecotrust Canada, will manage the new $7-million fund. The Aboriginal Energy Partnership and Ecotrust Canada will each contribute $2 million to the new fund, with the remaining $3 million being provided by the Government of Canada.
“The Regeneration Fund is going to provide access to much needed capital for First Nations,” says Sandy Wong, General Manager of the Tale’awtxw Aboriginal Capital Corporation. ”The $7 million fund will help First Nations finance equity in independent power projects in B.C. It will help grow Aboriginal ownership in this critical sector of our economy.”
”We have two goals in launching the First Nation Regeneration Fund today,” says Ian Gill, President of Ecotrust Canada. “By investing in run-of-river hydro-electric projects, we want to generate green energy to help meet B.C.’s carbon reduction targets and we want to regenerate Aboriginal economies which are suffering from high unemployment and stagnation.”
“Run-of-river hydro power generation is one area where First Nations clearly have a competitive advantage,” says Peter Lantin, Chief Operating Officer of Tribal Resources Investment Corporation.”Our traditional territorities, especially on the coast, have an abundance of clean energy. In fact, the first project we are helping to finance is a two-megawatt run-of-river hydro project owned by the Taku River Tlingit First Nation near Atlin in northern British Columbia.”
The Government of Canada is providing support to the new fund through the Major Resource and Energy Development (MRED) Investments Initiative, a pilot program run by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. These investments are designed to help Aboriginal businesses to partner in some of the most important economic developments and energy projects in the country.
Ecotrust Canada is an enterprising non-profit organization whose purpose is to build the conservation economy in coastal B.C. The organization works at the intersection of conservation and community economic development, promoting innovation and providing services for communities, First Nations and enterprises to green and grow their local economies. For more information, visit www.ecotrust.ca
Tale’awtxw Aboriginal Capital Corporation (TACC) supports the success of Aboriginal businesses within the Coast Salish Traditional Territories through business financing and support services. Its mission is to support, encourage and build Aboriginal economies that create sustainable self-sufficiency. For more information, visit www.tacc.ca
Tribal Resources Investment Corporation (TRICORP) provides business consulting and financial services to First Nations entrepreneurs in north-western British Columbia. TRICORP’s mandate is to increase the number of permanent jobs, reduce unemployment and facilitate business ownership among First Nations people. For more information, visit www.tricorp.ca
Through the MRED Investments Initiative and other Aboriginal economic development measures, the Government of Canada is demonstrating its continued commitment to increasing Aboriginal participation in the Canadian economy.
For more information on the First Nation Regeneration Fund, visit www.regenerationfund.ca.