Who is OSEA:
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First Nations / Metis members
First Nations and Metis people have always relied on nature’s bounty, giving thanks to the Creator for the wildlife, the forests and rivers that have traditionally sustained them, while looking ahead to the seventh generation. Today they continue to seek to benefit from the natural resources in their territories by harnessing the wind, water and sun to generate renewable energy.
Having long seen themselves as stewards of the Earth, First Nations and Metis understand the urgent need to stop polluting the planet. However, they also can see economic opportunities in developing sources of renewable energy that would benefit their remote and often impoverished communities.
OSEA has worked with over 20 First Nations on renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, identifying opportunities and increasing the capacity needed to undertake successful projects. In 2005, OSEA held a workshop in Ontario with First Nations and associated organizations at which barriers to past energy projects were identified and solutions discussed.
Working alongside its own First Nations members, and acting in an advisory position, OSEA also helped establish The First Nations Energy Alliance in 2007, which brings together nearly two dozen First Nations to promote self-sufficiency and the sustainability of their communities by generating electricity from clean, green sources. To establish the Alliance, OSEA was instrumental in obtaining funding from the Ontario Power Authority. On a regular basis, OSEA hosts a working group and its recommendations help formulate policy.
To develop policies that will foster sustainable development for First Nations and Metis members, OSEA works with the government and its different agencies. In a joint submission to the Ontario Energy Board, OSEA and Wikwemikong First Nation on Manitoulin Island called for changes in the cost of transmission, which at present must be covered by the energy generator. Instead OSEA is seeking to have the cost of lines and transformers covered by electricity consumers. As well, OSEA is advocating a funding program that would offer First Nations interest-free loans to seed new projects.
Recognizing the benefits for First Nations of generating renewable energy, as well as the obligation on the part of the province to respect First Nations territory, the Energy and Infrastructure Minister George Smitherman, in September 2008, directed the Ontario Power Authority to enhance its consultation process with First Nations and to consider opportunities to form partnerships with them to generate and transmit green electricity.
Several First Nations are already generating renewable energy while more are in the planning process. M'Chigeeng is in the final stages of securing funding for a 6-turbine, 8MW wind energy project on Manitoulin Island. Also on Manitoulin, Wikwemikong is developing an initial project of 26 MW or 13 windmills with even bigger plans to develop up to 200 MW over the next decade. Meanwhile Walpole Island First Nation is developing a 10 MW wind power project, which will be entirely within the nation's boundaries, and collectively owned by its members.
Last Updated: Tuesday, January 26, 2010 at 11:52:34 AM
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