FREDERICTON (GNB) – NB Power is inviting First Nations communities to participate in a new program to integrate small-scale renewable energy projects onto the provincial power grid.

First Nations communities are asked to submit plans to NB Power under the Community Renewable Energy – First Nations Opportunity, which is the first phase of the government’s Locally-Owned Renewable Energy Small Scale (LORESS) Program. Another Request for Expressions of Interest will be announced during the second phase for local entities, such as municipalities, co-operatives and not-for profits, next January.

“These small scale renewable projects will allow for First Nations to develop, implement and manage their own energy projects in their communities while helping NB Power meet its energy demand,” said Gaëtan Thomas, CEO and president of NB Power. “This collaboration is an important one as we all have a role to play in the future of our energy market.”

The program allows for the production of 40 megawatts of electricity from renewable resources like hydro, biomass, wind and solar energy. A maximum of 20 megawatts can be owned by one or more First Nations businesses or 40 megawatts can be owned by two or more First Nations businesses if they are located on the same site. The generation will be added to the transmission system at 69 KV or above.

“We are proud to have taken an important step in creating the conditions for sustainable economic development in New Brunswick and its First Nations communities through this new and innovative renewable energy program,” said Energy and Mines Minister Donald Arseneault. “Through a diversified approach to growing the energy sector, we are laying a solid foundation to meet our goals of job creation and seeing 40 per cent of energy generated in the province come from renewables by 2020.”

The program ensures First Nations inclusion and participation in the energy sector and is intended to create business opportunities, jobs and expertise for their communities. The program also recognizes and supports First Nations interest in renewable energy and is aligned with cultural environmental values.

NB Power, along with the Department of Energy and Mines, will hold two information sessions with the leadership from First Nations communities to give them an opportunity to ask questions about the program and the process for submitting proposals.

Details about the program and NB Power’s request for expression of interest can be obtained from the New Brunswick Opportunities Network website or www.bids.ca.

First Nations are invited to submit their proposals by 3 p.m. on April 29. Questions can be emailed to alltenders@nbpower.com or sent by fax to 506-458-4089.