As part of a an ongoing profile of unique business opportunities in Canada I came across this story.
In this age where virtually every country is looking for cleaner sources of energy Aboriginal organizations are getting involved in the clean energy business in Canada. Canada like other countries in the world are discovering that run-of-river hydro projects can offer more than clean energy and they also have the potential to generate significant, long-term economic benefits for the country’s Aboriginal people.
As the push to develop more clean energy has increased, independent power producers are approaching individual First Nations in Canada on a regular basis with proposals for small hydro development. Under Canadian law, most Aboriginal peoples have certain rights with regard to resource development on their traditional territories.
Aboriginal corporations that provide business financing and support services to First Nations in British Columbia and the Tribal Resource Investment Corporation (TRICORP) and the Tale'awtxw Aboriginal Capital Corporation are taking a major stake in various projects throughout Canada. They also created the First Nation
Regeneration Fund specifically to provide financing to enable First Nations to purchase equity positions in power projects.
“Run-of-river hydro power generation is one area where First Nations clearly have a competitive advantage,” says Peter Lantin, TRICORP’s Chief Operating Officer. “Our traditional territories, especially on the coast, have an abundance of clean energy. In fact, the first project we are helping to finance is a two-megawatt run-of-river hydro project owned by the Taku River Tlingit First Nation near Atlin in northern British Columbia.”
With $2 million from each of the Aboriginal corporations, and a $3 million contribution from Canada’s Department of Indian and Northern Affairs, the First Nation Regeneration Fund now has a total endowment of $7 million. It’s administered by Ecotrust Canada Capital, a subsidiary of Ecotrust Canada.
Loans made available through the Regeneration Fund are repaid by the First Nation through dividends and royalties from the run-of-river power project and possibly other sources. Once the loan is repaid, the dividends and royalties become long-term discretionary income that can be used by First Nations for economic or social development.
“The Regeneration Fund is going to provide access to much needed capital for First Nations,” says Sandy Wong, General Manager of the Tale’awtxw Aboriginal Capital Corporation. “It will help First Nations finance equity in independent power projects in British Columbia, and grow Aboriginal ownership in this critical sector of our economy. At the same time, these green energy projects are a natural fit with the social and cultural principles we support.”
It is these types of unique partnerships that are helping to position Canada and it various group as leaders in the area of sustainable development and growth in the area of developing the clean energy business.
Kensel Tracy is The Marketing Coach and is a Senior Partner in the Corporate Coachworkz located in Chelsea, Quebec and offices in Ottawa Ontario.. If you have a unique story on business in Canada, he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org