OTTAWA, March 19, 2014 /CNW/ - Images of placard-waving protesters and angry blockades often spring to mind when Canadians think of energy projects and Aboriginal peoples. However, in Canada's clean energy sector, Aboriginal peoples are beating their drums in celebration, not in protest. And the sector is booming.
"Aboriginal power gives voice to a positive renewable energy future for Canada's First Nations," says Shawn A-in-chut Atleo, National Chief, Assembly of First Nations and Hereditary Chief, Ahousaht First Nation, in his support for a new book Aboriginal Power: Clean Energy and Canada's First Peoples by Chris Henderson.
Aboriginal clean energy projects - harnessing hydro, wind, biomass and solar power - are on the rise in every region of Canada. At the end of 2013, some 46 of these projects were in operation. By the end of 2015, a total of 61 projects will be generating more than 1,400 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 45,000 households.
- In Nova Scotia, the Mi'kmaq Millbrook First Nation recently received provincial approval for a 6 Megawatt wind project;
- In Quebec, the community of Inukjuak plans to generate hydropower to replace dirty and expensive diesel fuel;
- In Ontario, the Mother Earth Wind Energy project on the traditional territory of the M'Chigeeng First Nation on Manitoulin Island became fully operational in 2013;
- In Manitoba, the 200 megawatt, Wuskwatim Hydro Project is in the final stages of construction;
- In BC, over 127 First Nations are developing renewable energy projects.
Aboriginal communities are collaborating with the private sector and governments to undertake these projects. In the process, they are gaining expertise and opportunities, as well as a sense of pride and accomplishment.
The story of those projects - of how they have galvanized the aboriginal communities involved, and why they represent the best future for energy development in Canada - is at the core of Aboriginal Power: Clean Energy and the Future of Canada's First Peoples. The book examines dozens of Aboriginal renewable energy projects.
"There are lessons in the book, from the experience in the clean energy sector that could be and should be applied to all types of natural resources development in Canada," says Chris Henderson. "To minimize confrontation and conflict, it's essential that energy, mining and forestry developers sit down with first nations groups and seriously take into account what is in their best interest - because ultimately that's also what's in the collective interest."
Henderson has been working alongside Aboriginal groups in Canada for 20 years helping to bring over a dozen major projects on-line, with more currently in development. Groups outside Canada are taking note of the good news coming out of Canada, and Henderson has recently received inquiries from Alaska, Nevada, Arizona, Brazil and Asia.
Henderson, President of Lumos Energy, acts as clean energy advisor to Aboriginal communities across Canada. As a mentor to First Nation, Métis and Inuit leaders he works to make hydro, wind and biomass projects a reality to fuel sustainable prosperity for Canada's First Peoples.
Aboriginal Power can be purchased through www.aboriginalpower.ca and through select bookstores across Canada.
SOURCE: Lumos Energy
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