THUNDER BAY – “The Remote Electrification Readiness Program is a step in the right direction for many NAN First Nations, especially our remote communities. This funding will make sure that we are prepared to fully benefit from new transmission projects in our territory. We look forward to working together with the Government of Ontario,” stated Harvey Yesno, Grand Chief of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation.
The Remote Electrification Readiness Program will support the development of community readiness plans. These plans will help eligible communities identify opportunities for job-specific training, relevant health programs, business innovation mentoring and economic development supports.
Connecting remote First Nations to the province’s electricity grid was identified as a priority under Ontario’s Long-Term Energy Plan. This initiative supports strong and healthy communities by:
• Reducing barriers to growth
• Increasing economic development opportunities, including participation in the work to join the grid, new business initiatives made possible by greater access to grid-connected power and the potential to invest in future feed-in tariff projects.
• Improving social and living conditions for residents.
• Providing cleaner air and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
• Reducing the likelihood of diesel fuel leaks and spills.
This initiative will help to fight climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, connecting up to 21 diesel-reliant First Nations could result in savings of about $1 billion over the next 40 years compared to continuing with diesel generation.
“Connecting these remote First Nation communities to the provincial grid will constitute one of the largest expansions of Ontario’s northern transmission infrastructure in decades. This program is a vital starting point, but we need the federal government’s commitment and cooperation so we can keep moving forward. I look forward to working with them,” commented David Zimmer, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs
“Connecting Ontario’s remote northwestern First Nation communities is a priority for the Province. Responsibility for electricity service in remote First Nation communities is shared between the federal and provincial governments and we will continue to work with our federal counterparts to make this project a reality. Connecting remote communities will unlock economic development potential, increase the reliability of electricity service and lead to a cleaner local supply mix,” said Bob Chiarelli, Minister of Energy