Solar panels and a wind turbine in a field on a clear autumn day. Copy space. Wolfe Island, Kingston, On, Canada.
The Ontario government is injecting an additional $5 million into its Indigenous Energy Support Programs, bringing the total annual investment for this year to $15 million to be distributed between 93 projects from 58 communities.

A total of $15 million will be distributed to 93 projects in 58 Indigenous communities to support clean energy projects across Ontario

The Ontario government is injecting an additional $5 million into its Indigenous Energy Support Programs. This brings the total investment for this year to $15 million for 93 projects in 58 communities.

The Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) administers funding for the Indigenous Energy Support Programs. The programs promote Indigenous leadership within the electricity sector. The goals are to enhance the reliability, affordability and sustainability of Ontario’s grid and reduce electricity costs in Indigenous communities.

“Our government is building the electricity generation and storage projects we need to provide reliable, affordable and clean electricity across our province, including Indigenous communities,” said Todd Smith, Ontario’s minister of Energy in a press note.

In 2022, a total of $9.8 million went to 83 projects in 53 Indigenous communities and organizations. Since the launch of the Energy Support Programs in 2009, the IESO has provided a total of $71 million in funding to 177 Indigenous communities and organizations.

Eligible initiatives

The Indigenous Energy Support Programs are divided into four funding streams: Indigenous Energy Projects; hiring a Community Energy Champion; Education and Capacity Building; and Indigenous Community Energy Plans.

This year, 41 clean electricity projects are receiving support under the Indigenous Energy Projects stream. These projects include the installation of solar, energy storage and geothermal energy systems.

Another 35 projects are getting funding to grow awareness, education, training and capacity-building in order that Indigenous communities may leverage opportunities within the electricity sector.

Fifteen Indigenous communities and organizations are receiving funding to hire a “Community Energy Champion.” This position is responsible for planning, executing and evaluating energy-related projects and priorities.

And two Indigenous communities will get funding to update their Community Energy Plans. This will help them improve energy efficiency and reduce their electricity consumption.

Successful Indigenous applicant examples

Nipissing First Nation is receiving $160,000 for two DC fast chargers at the Bineshii Business Park, west of North Bay.

Six Nations of the Grand River is 25 kilometres southwest of Hamilton. It is using $200,000 in financial support to establish its first electric vehicle charging station within the community.

Meanwhile, two Level 2 and two DC fast charging stations and a battery backup system are being built at the Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve recreational complex on Manitoulin Island. The community is getting $200,000 for this project.

“Establishing strong and lasting partnerships with Indigenous communities is fundamental to advancing meaningful reconciliation and creating long-term economic benefits for Indigenous communities across Ontario,” said Greg Rickford, Ontario’s minister of Indigenous Affairs.

The full list of Indigenous communities receiving funding through the program this year is available here.