Natural Resource Canada funds 11 bioenergy projects

By Erin Voegele | September 22, 2020

Natural Resource Canada is has announced it will award approximately $21 million to support several clean energy projects in Indigenous communities in Ontario and the Northwest Territories, including 11 biomass projects.

The agency announced on Sept. 21 it will award nearly $13 million to support six biomass energy projects in northern Ontario that will help Indigenous communities reduce their reliance on fossil fuels by decreasing emissions and demonstrating the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of biomass heating. The following day, it announced it will award $8 million to eight community-led clean energy projects in the Northwest Territories that aim to reduce reliance on diesel fuel for heat and power while creating jobs.

Funding for the six Ontario projects and four of the Northwest Territories projects comes from the Clean Energy for Rural and Remote Communities BioHeat Stream, a six-year, $220 million program that aims to reduce reliance on diesel and rural and remote communities by deploying and demonstrating renewable energy, encouraging energy efficiency and building local skills and capacity. One project is funded through Canada’s Indigenous Off-Diesel Initiative, a $20 million initiative aimed at generating new opportunities by reducing diesel reliance in remote Indigenous communities. The remaining projects are funded through a combination of the two programs.

The projects include:

    •$1.67 million to Askii Environmental Inc. to install biomass heating systems in Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation and Pikangikum First Nation, which will offset the fossil fuel used to heat schools in these communities;

    •$2.45 million to Wikwemikong Development Commission to demonstrate the effectiveness of forest-based biomass and efficient residential heating sources in Wikwemikong Unceded Territory through the installation of pellet stoves, biomass boilers, wood pellet furnaces and wood pellet storage silos;

    •$2.53 million to the Nishnawbe Aski Nation to replace existing woodstove heating appliances in six of the nation's communities with upgraded high-efficiency woodstoves, which will reduce fossil fuel heating use by lowering demand on the community's diesel-generated electricity supply;  

    •$1.05 million to Bingwi Neyaashi Anishinaabek to replace the community's sawmill diesel heat source with a biomass system and to install biomass-compatible heating systems in three new housing units in preparation for future biomass heating expansion, which will demonstrate the economic development benefits and cost-effectiveness of biomass heating;

    •$4.17 million to Sagatay Cogeneration Limited Partnership to develop engineering plans for a biomass cogeneration system, which, once constructed, would reduce the community's dependence on diesel fuel for heat and electricity;

    •$983,000 to Wahgoshig First Nation to install a forest-based biomass heating system for four community buildings — the Community Firehall, Lands and Resources Office, Community Centre and Community Elder's Residence — which will reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions;

    •$184,000 to Inuvialuit Regional Corporation to promote energy literacy in the community, renew Inuvialuit dialect and culture, and promote cross-generational learning between Elders and youth on traditional practices, language and sustainability;

    •$797,000 to the Arctic Energy Alliance to build community capacity and energy literacy to support and direct their local Community Energy Planning process;

    •$1.7 million to the Town of Inuvik to install a biomass heating system to replace the diesel boilers that are currently used for heat and provide freeze protection for the municipal water reservoir;

    •$2.6 million to the Tulita Land Corporation to install biomass boilers to heat seven municipal buildings and to establish a forest-based value chain to produce wood chips to fuel the boilers;

    •$500,000 to the Deline Got’ine Government to create a community energy plan that will increase energy efficiency and reduce diesel use, generate local green jobs, introduce a 30kWh solar system for the community’s Grey Goose Lodge hotel and respond to increasingly limited access to the winter road; and

    •$2.25 million to Nihtat Energy Ltd for three projects aimed at replacing diesel-fueled boilers with biomass-heating systems in six public buildings and engaging with Aklavik and other Gwich’in communities in the Northwest Territories to test methods of integrating renewables into isolated grids while maintaining Indigenous participation and building community knowledge on energy planning processes.