Recent Developments in Renewable Energy in Remote Aboriginal Communities, Ontario, Canada

Konstantinos Karanasios, Paul Parker


Northern Ontario’s 25 remote aboriginal communities are looking to introduce renewable electricity sources into their diesel-powered systems. This paper reviews community electrical systems, past renewable electricity projects, as well as available renewable resources, generation alternatives, and supportive targets and policies for community owned renewable electricity generation in Northern Ontario. Communities are transforming their electrical systems by introducing renewable electricity into their electrical systems and participating directly in the proposed transmission line that would connect 21 of the 25 communities to the provincial grid. Renewable projects are financially supported by federal and provincial programs and take the form of small scale applications under “behind the meter” agreements, or community scale projects under power purchase agreements with HORCI, the utility that services 15 remote communities. Under the long-term option of the interconnection to the provincial grid, communities are expected to be supplied with low carbon, reliable and affordable electricity, and to be able to participate in the development of larger scale community owned renewable electricity generation assets. The model of increased aboriginal community decision making authority is used to increase their socioeconomic benefits and self-sufficiency and may serve as a valuable model for other community assets and service delivery in the future.

Keywords: Ontario, remote aboriginal communities, indigenous communities, renewable electricity, community ownership, transmission line, energy transition

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