Saskatchewan’s First Nations Power Authority gets cash boost from Ottawa

REGINA – Saskatchewan’s First Nations Power Authority has received a cash boost from the federal government.

Michelle Rempel, minister of western economic diversification, announced in Regina that Ottawa will put up $300,000 to help fund demonstrations of renewable power generation.

One of the projects is a solar-powered generating station in southern Saskatchewan and involves the File Hills Qu’Appelle Tribal Council.

Rempel said Saskatchewan is an ideal place to test small-scale renewable power projects.

She said the province is more than coming into its own in terms of the national economy.

The First Nations Power Authority works with aboriginal communities to develop technology that will provide secure power in remote areas.

Authority chairman Ben Voss shares Rempel’s confidence.

“When you have industry partnerships, you create all this private investment that goes with it, the job creation,” he said at the announcement Friday.

“And that’s really what drives First Nations’ desire to be in it because, if they can own part of it and create some jobs out of it, it’s like a win-win.”

Edmund Bellegarde represents the File Hills tribal council. He said renewable energy is something First Nations feel comfortable pursuing.

“This type of energy development certainly aligns with all of our traditional teachings and teachings of our elders — how we look for sustainable energy sources and … also sustain Mother Earth,” he said.

SaskPower and Lockheed Martin, which makes solar fuel cells, is also part of the southern Saskatchewan project.

The area is ideally suited because of the large amount of energy it gets from the sun every year.