A group of eleven First Nations in northwestern British Columbia has come together to develop and co-own renewable energy projects in their region.
Known as K’uul Power, the organization consists of elected and hereditary chiefs from various First Nations. The collaboration is led by Ts’il Kaz Koh chief Wesley Sam (pictured above).
The participating nations are Ts’il Kaz Koh, Nee Tahi Buhn, Wet’suwet’en, Kitsumkalum, Kitselas, Nisga’a, Haisla, Nadleh Whut’en, and Nazko, as well as Hereditary Chief Samooh of Birch House.
K’uul Power aims to establish partnerships and commercial relationships that benefit all participating nations. By prioritizing collaboration and mutual gain, the organization seeks to address historical grievances, honor past agreements, and create new infrastructure in a sustainable manner.
The collaboration will kickstart new energy companies that will develop clean energy transmission projects. These new energy companies will be co-owned by First Nations, BC Hydro, private companies, and federal and provincial government officials.
Clean energy transmission projects in northwest BC could be worth up to $8 billion, according to Global News.
The collaboration could be a game-changer in lifting BC First Nations out of energy poverty. A February 2023 report found that 178 Indigenous communities across Canada have no access to the electrical grid. About two dozen of these communities are in BC.
Many of K’uul Power’s future projects are likely to be eligible for federal clean energy incentives. The Strategic Partnerships Initiative is offering $300 million in funding for renewable energy projects in Indigenous communities. The program is open until 2027, although it may be extended down the road.
K’uul Power will also benefit from the fact that the BC government is embracing clean energy more aggressively than any other provincial government in Canada.
This week, BC premier David Eby announced a new partnership with Newfoundland to develop green hydrogen. And in October, energy minister Josie Osborne announced that all new cars sold in BC must be EVs by 2035. The 2035 date is five years earlier than the government’s original EV mandate.
Image Source: Business Examiner