The combination of First Nations partnership, governance and equity is unequivocally the factor that unlocks positive impacts for First Nations communities and projects.
That's the conclusion of a new briefing paper by Indigenous Clean Energy (ICE) in Canada which reviewed key factors optimising positive impacts for First Nations through reliable and cost-effective renewable energy projects.
The authors found the most effective clean electricity projects - both in terms of project reliability and performance with positive impacts on Indigenous communities, organisations, and people - embedded three integrated practices in project development, financing, and operations:
- Structured Project Partnerships between First Nations entities, and sometimes multiple Nations, and project development proponents.
- Active and Collaborative Project Governance, defined in project partnership documentation and practices, that sees project general managers (i.e., developers, utilities, and others) jointly: develop and design; secure environmental and other authorisations and permits; formalise power offtake agreements; manage/mitigate risks; finance (equity and long terms senior debt); and operate projects.
- First Nations Project Equity, with the trend towards equity positions of 20% - 50%, and in a significant number of projects, even higher.
Integrated First Nations partnership-governance-equity was found to be a catalyst that triggers a cascade of outcomes with material value to project development, reliability, and cost competitiveness, as well as First Nations benefits and impacts.
Thanks to Matt Artz for use of the photo.