Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

Feds announce $20 million to reduce diesel use in remote Indigenous communities

This initiative builds on over $700 million already committed to help remote regions

The federal government has announced a $20-million initiative aimed at reducing diesel reliance in remote Indigenous communities but experts say challenges remain.

Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi says the initiative is to make sure Indigenous groups have the capacity to develop their own solutions to reduce their dependency on diesel.

This initiative builds on over $700 million already committed to help remote regions get off diesel but Sohi says one of the reasons a number of Indigenous communities still rely on this fuel for electricity and heating is because they are isolated.

A PhD candidate at the University of Waterloo and an expert on remote off-grid communities throughout Canada says he doesn’t think enough money has been spent to get the areas off diesel.

READ MORE: New accord aims to speed up treaties with First Nations

Nicholas Mercer says renewable energy sources are a good financial option in the long-term but it’s difficult for most communities to come up with upfront capital.

Dylan Heerema, a member of the Pembina Institute’s remote communities team, says such projects take time to plan, finance, construct and implement.

The Canadian Press

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