First Nations Renewable Energy Forum
A sustainable and interactive forum for First Nations communities to share, explore & work towards innovative solutions to their renewable energy needs.
About Your Organization
University of Victoria
Canada, BC, Victoria
Country where this solution is creating social impact
Region in BC where your solution creates social impact
Vancouver, Coast and Mountains, Vancouver Island, Thompson Okanagan, Northern British Columbia, Cariboo Chilcotin Coast, Kootenay Rockies, Columbia Basin.
Is your organization a
How long has your organization been operating?
More than 5 years
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Select the stage that best applies to your solution
Established (past the previous stages and has demonstrated success)
How long have you been in operation?
Operating for 1‐5 years
Which of the following best describes the barrier(s) your solution addresses? Choose up to two
The Need: Describe the need for your solution and the size and characteristics of the community(ies) your solution is engaging
-Need for opportunities to build upon and share information about renewable energy initiatives provincially/nationally.
-Need for an ongoing forum for First Nations to connect around and learn about various projects, practices and policies involving energy conservation and renewable energy
-Community need for support and opportunities to develop and implement collaborative sustainability projects (energy and resource management, food security, culture, economic development, training and capacity development)
-Need to promote and encourage the sharing of best practices and solutions around community-driven renewable energy projects
-Need to create employment and service-learning options for current students, recent grads and alumni in Science, Tech, Engineering and Math fields
The Solution: What is your solution? Be specific!
-To provide a forum for discussion, education and innovation that brings together BC community members, Indigenous youth, academics, industry representatives, and government to showcase Indigenous community sustainability projects and to share about renewable energy initiatives.
-To work with communities to identify their energy needs and priorities, to share sustainable energy opportunities and build the capacity needed to undertake successful projects. We also invite reps from a range of government ministries to promote policies that will foster sustainable development and energy sovereignty for First Nations.
-While this initiative has been delivered as a 2-day Symposium in the past, it is gaining ground with many attendees and stakeholders having expressed interest in staying expanding the format and staying connected throughout the year. We are thus seeking to integrate more community-building, service-learning, and connection opportunities for students and stakeholders.
The Model: Walk us through a specific example of how your solution makes a difference; include the primary activities involved in your solution.
A forum that brings together attendees from all over Vancouver Island, BC, and Western Canadian provinces including industry representatives, youth, and chiefs, councillors, and energy and resource project managers from local First Nations. This year, we plan on integrating an additional career-focused component with the aim of facilitating networking opportunities and connections between First Nations learners and prospective employers/mentors.
Examples of past First Nations Renewable Energy Forum components include
1)Panel Presentations, such as
•A photo essay: “Oil on Lubicon Land” presentation from Melina Laboucan Massimo
•BC First Nations First Climate Change and Adaptation project – Xeni Gwet’in
•Climate Change and Sustainable Communities
•Cowichan Tribes energy planning
•T’Sou-ke Nation Solar project and community Greenhouse Project
•Douglas First Nation Hydro Projects
2)Workshops consisting of:
•Technology (Solar, environmental Remediation,)
•BC Hydro- Standing Offer program
•Fortis BC Community Energy Solutions
•Training and Capacity Building
3)Programs for Indigenous youth:
•Building and Designing Wind Turbine Blades
•Presentation from UVic Computer Science, and UVic Aboriginal Students in Science and Engineering
•Traditional Foods presentation
•BC Hydro Youth Conservation workshop
The Marketplace: Who are your peers and competitors? Identify others working to address the same needs as you and indicate what sets you apart from them.
While there are several organizations and groups working on First Nations renewable energy initiatives, these are typically industry-driven and do not always account for the socio-economic barriers facing Indigenous peoples regionally and nationally. The proposed initiative is not-for-profit and is unique in its approach, which seeks to foreground both community and student voices in the coordination and execution of all program components. Additionally, the collaborative design of the organizing framework allows us to incorporate interdisciplinary research opportunities over the typical industrial applications and technologies.
This Entry is about (Issues)
Founding Story: We want to hear about your "Aha!" moment. Share the story of where and when the founder(s) saw this solution's potential to change the world.
Blackfoot Electrical Engineering Masters student Jessica has a goal of helping First Nations communities achieve energy independence: "I'd like to help First Nations communities achieve energy independence using renewable energy technology. In my educational and co-op training, I gained experience with energy and power monitoring, wind turbine design, solar electric installations and solar thermal systems. I hope to help communities implement renewable energy projects that will alleviate energy (diesel) costs for communities off the grid, provide emergency power, and build economic capacity through generated power revenue for on grid communities."
Please describe the goal of your initiative; outline what you are trying to achieve
-Education and awareness
-Sharing of ideas between community partners and other stakeholders
-Strenghtening partnerships between communities and with government, industry, and academic institutions
-Networking and facilitating connections between students, community members, and relevant industry and government representatives to promote educational and employment-related opportunities.
-Inspiration and mentorship for youth
-Facilitating the collaborative development and sharing of capacity development models and industry-specific knowledge and skills
-Identification of current and future energy needs from community stakeholders to integrate into our institutional approach to community partnership building
-Increased cultural support for student transitions to industry
What has been the impact of your solution to date?
Facilitating education and awareness around community-based renewable energy and conservation projects, as well as traditional ecological knowledge. Promoting continuous knowledge-sharing and an ongoing venue for career and service-learning connections in this field. Sharing visions, best practices, barriers, and challenges around renewable energy initiatives, programs, research, and innovations.
Over the past 3 years we have had over 350 attendees from all over Vancouver Island, the province and as far away as Alberta. There have also been over 20 First Nations represented by chiefs, councillors, and energy and resource project managers. We have also had Indigenous youth attendees from Cowichan Tribes, LA,WALNEW High School, Esquimalt High School, and the Saanich Adult Education Centre.
What is your projected impact over the next five years?
To advance this initiative by integrating broader and more diverse representation from regions across Canada. To build on the groundwork laid in the past 3 years by expanding this initiative beyond a two-day event into an ongoing, interactive medium for knowledge-sharing, research and investment, and networking and employment in the fields of renewable energy. To incorporate a greater focus on building career connections and service-learning opportunities with the aim of supporting student transitions out of post-secondary and into culturally-relevant work experiences in their fields of interest. To support communities in identifying their renewable energy needs and interests, building capacity, and facilitating connections with relevant research, industry, and government representatives.
What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?
This event has been extremely well-received by collaborators and attendees in the past, with students, community-members, and industry representatives expressing strong interest in its continuation. The primary barriers impacting the success of this initiative include the need for adequate funding to carry out the organization and delivery of the symposium in a respectful and culturally-appropriate way.
Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact
Deliver a community-driven forum on First Nations Renewable Energy initiatives
Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your six-month milestone
Continue to resource the event through external funding and grant proposals
Encourage active and ongoing involvement of new and existing community partners from the early organizational phase
Hire contractor to oversee the collaborative organization of this event
Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone
Expand initiative into ongoing First Nations Renewable Energy network and online community
Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your 12-month milestone
Encourage and promote membership in First Nations Renewable Energy Network at next year's symposium
Establish online network of individuals and groups interested in First Nations Renewable Energy initiatives
Share project ideas, webcast discussions and conferences, facilitate and deliver webinars to one another
Tell us about your partnerships
This event is organized through collaboration between UVic's Office of Indigenous Affairs and the T'Souke Nation, a partner with UVic's Aboriginal Service Plan. In the past, we've had other ASP partners and reps from UVic, UBC, Camosun College and the Native Education Centre in attendance. The integration of a service-learning and career component will involve more First Nations partners who have expressed interest in creating additional community-based employment, co-op or mentorship opportunities for current students and recent grads, particularly in science, tech, engineering & math fields.
Are you currently targeting other specific populations, locations, or markets for your solution? If so, where and why?
The target audience for next year's event involves anyone interested in learning about or working on First Nations renewable energy projects. We plan to increase and diversify our the target audience by promoting the initiative online to make it accessible to regions across Canada. We will also explore opportunities for more distant or remote communities to share their renewable energy projects or ideas through an interactive online medium and learn about initiatives of interest and relevance in other communities, which would bring the scope to an international plane.
What type of operating environment and internal organizational factors make your innovation successful?
Some of the primary factors that will contribute to the success of this innovative network include the close accessibility and availability of skilled faculty, staff and researchers, the strong and active community/student voice that informs the planning process, and the collaborative and community-based nature of the organizing framework for this initative.
Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren't specified within the list
-Offers a centralized resource and online community of people interested in First Nations Renewable Energy solutions and innovation