SaskPower and the First Nations Power Authority (FNPA) signed a First Nations Opportunity Agreement on Friday.
The agreement outlines conditions for 20 megawatts of new utility-scale solar generation projects.
“Reducing emissions is also a cornerstone of our province’s Prairie Resilience Strategy,” said Warren Kaeding, Minister of Government Relations, on behalf of Dustin Duncan, Minister Responsible for SaskPower. “Indigenous people have long served as stewards of the land and can provide valuable insight into projects that are integral to generate clean energy for generations to come.”
The 20 megawatts from the agreement is part of a larger project by SaskPower to add 60 megawatts of solar to the provincial grid by 2021.
According to Guy Lonechild, the CEO of the First Nations Power Authority, this agreement is a perfect fit for indigenous communities.
“Indigenous people are natural stewards of the land. We live in harmony with mother earth, to create sustainable opportunities in the area of renewable energy is just a nice fit,” said Lonechild.
There are currently two possible solar projects under consideration, including a project through George Gordon and Star Blanket First Nations that would be located near Weyburn, and a project led by Cowessess First Nation that would be located on the residence.
The Chiefs of the communities with proposals in play are excited by the opportunity to help the environment by encouraging renewable resources. Chief Cadmus Delorme of the Cowessess First Nation said he is excited to contribute to cleaner forms of energy for future generations.
“Just to be a part of the renewable energy stage allows Cowessess First Nation to know that were playing our little part,” said Delorme. “Were playing our role looking after this future for our children, and our children yet unborn.”
In the fall of 2018, Cowessess unveiled its $2.3 million solar power installment that already provides 1 megawatt to the provincial power grid annually.
The First Nations led projects are expected to be worth $85 million over 20 years.