MSGC participates in climate change announcement

On February 5th, 2018, the Metis Settlements General Council sent a team, led by President Gerald Cunningham, to the Alberta & Saskatchewan Renewable Energy Finance Summit in Calgary. At the request of Ministers Richard Feehan (Indigenous Relations), Shannon Phillips (Environment), and Marg McCuaig-Boyd (Energy), President Cunningham also  provided remarks at a media event to announce the guidelines for bidding on renewable electricity projects under the Climate Leadership Initiative. This round of bidding is significant because it requires that Indigenous communities and organizations must be equity partners in projects. Indigenous peoples see the effects of climate change first-hand. Alberta’s Indigenous Climate Leadership Initiatives creates real engagement opportunities and ensures Indigenous communities have seats at the decision-making table. 

This new round of bidding, round two of the Renewable Electricity Program (REP 2), is an important step in ensuring Indigenous peoples are involved in matters, like climate change, that directly affect their lives. Working with Indigenous communities through the Renewable Electricity Program will encourage economic activity, create local jobs, and help reach Alberta’s goal of 30 per cent renewable energy. The Province has pointed to this initiative as a clear indicator that respect for Indigenous Rights, economic development, and combatting climate change are all objectives that can be achieved together. 

Under REP 2, companies will bid to produce 300 megawatts of renewable power in partnership specifically with Indigenous communities. This will create jobs and economic benefits in Indigenous communities and aligns with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Renewable Electricity Program is a first step that will support larger, utility scale projects, as well as build on existing Indigenous Relations economic and employment programs. Alberta will engage with Indigenous communities as well as the AESO and industry to finalize details of the competition. Response to the first round of the program exceeded expectations and set a Canadian record for lowest renewable pricing in Canada. The first round attracted about $1 billion in new private investment and will create about 740 jobs. The Renewable Electricity Program overall is expected to generate more than $10 billion in private investment and create about 7,200 jobs as well as protect our environment and the health of Albertans.

The Alberta & Saskatchewan Renewable Energy Finance Summit was an important backdrop for an announcement of this type. The Summit, in its third year, has become firmly established as the essential networking event for key government and system operator decision-makers to network with leading finance experts and independent power producers engaged in these growing markets. Put another way, it is the premiere event to bring different stakeholders together and potentially foster new business relationships that will create opportunities on clean energy initiatives.