BC First Nations and the Clean Energy Association of BC (CEBC) are to work together to help develop the renewable energy sector in British Columbia, including the small hydro field.

At CEBC’s annual meeting in Vancouver, 13 First Nations representatives, the First Nations Energy and Mining Council, and CEBC signed an agreement to further mutual interests wind, small hydro, biomass, biogas, solar, geothermal and natural-gas electricity generation.

“There is no reason why the Clean Energy sector cannot power a new era of economic development for First Nations in BC," commented Councillor Garry Feschuk of the Sechelt (shíshálh) First Nation, one of the initial leaders of the MOU. "First Nations are distributed throughout BC and so are the clean generation fuels – we should all be able to benefit from this sector."

Paul Kariya, executive director of CEBC, added: "Clean Energy is an enabling sector in natural resource development in BC. Our fuels are clean and for the most part non-consumptive which appeals to First Nations who want to protect the environment, have legacy infrastructure and support sustainable economic development."

Bill Bennett, BC’s minister of energy and mines, noted that BC’s clean-energy sector has a strong track record of working collaboratively with First Nations to promote economic development. He said that working with First Nations is a key part of doing business in BC, and that this MOU will help to strengthen these important partnerships.

In all, 125 First Nations have had some involvement in clean energy in BC and all are welcome to sign the MOU, said CEBC in a statement.