I am encouraged to report that there is indeed positive movement in the direction of harnessing solar power within the First Nations Community in Canada.
In a recent newsletter sent by Bullfrog Power, (a leader in alternative power initiatives in Canada) I read that Canada’s Northwest Territories will be among others in Canada to play a significant part in lowering our dependence on fossil fuels and increasing our infrastructure of sustainable solar power. Below is a quote, taken with permission, from Bullfrog’s newsletter.
“You may not have heard of Lutsel K’e (pronounced “Loot-sel-kay”), a small remote village in the Northwest Territories on Great Slave Lake, east of Yellowknife. In a world that is becoming increasingly complex and high tech, the Lutsel K’e Dene First Nation (LKDFN) is on the leading edge of renewable energy—while maintaining its role as steward of the environment.
The LKDFN is a vibrant community with strong connections to its land and traditions. Yet, like all of us in North America, it has become heavily dependent on electricity. Its’ extremely isolated location has meant the only source of electricity available to date has been from diesel fuel generators, which contribute to climate change and air pollution.
The project represents many milestones for the Lutsel K’e Dene and for Canada. The LKDFN now holds the distinction of becoming the first independent power producer anywhere in Canada’s northern territories. Being an independent power producer is significant because it means that the Lutsel K’e Dene First Nation is the first non-government entity to generate electricity for people who live in the territory.” ~ Bullfrog Power
The 144 panel 35 kW solar PV installation is now scheduled to be completed in 2015!
As a Canadian, I applaud the grassroots movement taken on by the Lutsel K’e Dene First Nation in partnership with Bullfrog Power. As has been painfully evident in recent years, Canada’s leadership (in my personal opinion) has been slow to protect our environment and many of the First Nations peoples affected by the oil industry.
My household has supported alternative energy usage for many years now (we purchase our electric and gas supplement through Bullfrog) and as always, I am reminded that it is the people who move forward the biggest shifts in society. Waiting passively for the government to create change can be a slow and daunting process. Therefore, I can only be grateful and impressed with the project at hand.
“The Lutsel K’e Dene First Nation project is the latest in Bullfrog Power’s work with First Nations communities. Recent Bullfrog Power Projects with First Nations include a partnership with the First Nations Power Authority in Saskatchewan as well as the construction of a solar tracker with the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation in North Vancouver, British Columbia.” ~ Bullfrog Power
The path to sustainable power production is an expensive one, but so is the impact this generation has on the next, considering the effects of fracking/oil extraction. While no new system is perfect and lessons are learned along the way, I feel that we must not shy away from investing in the alternative power infrastructure. We simply cannot go on the way we have been. That is surely not up for debate.
The co-operative between Canadian First Nations and Bullfrog Power is good news indeed.
Author: Monika Carless
Editor: Renée Picard
Image: via Bullfrog Power (used with permission)