Montana First Nation, in Alberta, is using renewable energy as a way to revitalize its economy.
Tthis community, located 90 kilometres south of Edmonton, recently joined forces with green energy provider Bullfrog Power and Green Arrow, a solar energy company owned by Montana First Nation itself, to install solar panels. The first installations will provide the power to operate the reserve’s water treatment plant.
The goal is to reduce the financial and environmental costs of dependence on fossil fuel-based electricity generation. Representatives of Montana First Nation are also committed to reducing their electricity consumption by adopting LED lighting, which will also reduce light pollution.
In addition to generating clean energy, the initiative is also a socio-economic driver for this community of 930 band members, many of whom rely on social assistance. A training program has been set up to provide interested band members with comprehensive solar energy training. Bullfrog Power, which has provided a grant representing over 50% of the funding for these installations, supervises this training program, a mix of theory and practical experience on using and maintaining solar installations. Once they’ve completed the training, students will be eligible to obtain certification from the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners.
« With this project, Montana First Nation is looking to improve our economy and reduce unemployment on the Reserve by becoming a leader in renewable energy for First Nations in Western Canada », said Barry Wheaton, CEO of Green Arrow.