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how green energy is changing one alberta first nation
In the bright spring sun, Leonel\'s twins bent down and brushed the recently fallen snow on the solar panels beneath his feet, one of dozens of buildings that helped illuminate the Louisburg tribal administration building.
When he visited, he explained that it was important to keep the panels clean so that they could absorb as much sunlight as possible, a task that had required constant snow removal since the first panels were installed in December.
In October 2016, the Alberta Provincial Government announced $2.
Alberta\'s indigenous solar projects have been funded by $5 million, and over the past year they have funded $200,000 for 18 different projects.
Louisburg is one of the four countries south of Edmonton, collectively known as Maswakis, which received $200,000 from the province.
In addition to state subsidies and corporate sponsorship, they also used this to install 750 solar panels on public buildings.
Solar panels and supporting hardware are now entirely owned by the tribe, and most of the energy of the First Nation is re-invested in the hands of environmentally friendly First Nation.
The twins were born in the neighbouring Eminesquiri tribe, but originally from the Louisburg tribe, they were key to sustaining their lives.
He is one of 13 band members trained to install, maintain and monitor solar panels.
The former Miller left home to work in cold lakes and pigeon lakes, working hard in natural gas factories and oil fields. He recalled that it was \"hot, dirty, heavy work\" and that there was still a long way to go.
\"I worked there for a long time and I could see that we polluted the environment with everything we were working on,\" the twins said of their 13-year mill career.
\"Now I\'m back. It\'s totally different. -
We are using the sun.
\"For twins, the new job is a family affair: his grandson Elijah also participates in a five-year-old family event. -
Daily training programs to provide him with new skills and sources of income.
But there is also an important cultural element, twins are not discounted.
The twins said, \"It\'s great to see him follow Grandpa\'s footsteps and help improve the environment. \"
\"This gives these young people an opportunity to learn about renewable energy. . . This is the most important thing, the power of the sun, which is the way we grow up in culture - respect for Mother Earth.
The government building is one of eight Louisburg tribal buildings with solar panels.
Overall, they expect to generate 88,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity a year, the same amount as 57% of community households.
Solar panels are expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 1,408 tons per year.
In addition to reducing emissions and creating jobs for band members, it also lowers their water and electricity bills, which they estimate will save between $6,000 and $18,000 a year.
Desmond Bull, a Louisibour tribal councillor, said: \"This money can be transferred to many of our underfunded projects, such as professional development and further training of band members. -
Residents started the project in 2013, although installation did not begin until 2015. -2016.
He added: \"We absolutely want to achieve net zero emissions. . . When you have a basic understanding of how to develop your own energy for your community, you provide energy for our own community, so you don\'t have to rely on big utility projects. \"
There are plans to install solar panels in other First Nation public buildings, such as Kissipanak School, as well as private businesses, including their bars and golf resorts.
But this is only the first step.
When the system is powered on, Bull predicts that they will have extra energy and that they can turn to profitability.
\"Do we want to sell it to our neighbours as a utility project?
Most definitely. . . I\'m thinking about a bigger scale, \"Bull said.
For the initial installation of Louis Bull, Power Grid Energy, Edmonton-
Headquartered in the Solar Panel Installation and Design Company, 13 tribal members were trained.
Trainees need at least 10 years of education and safety certification.
Successful applicants include people in their 20s and 50s, including newly graduated students. -
Secondary and trading personnel, such as electricians, mechanics and partners.
\"It just shows how the job can be adapted to people from any background,\" Bull said.
But challenges remain.
Bubull does not see solar energy as a magical solution to First Nation employment. He points out that after the initial project, only about 50% of the trainees continued to work on solar panels.
He hoped that more young people would join, but he acknowledged that they had a responsibility to obtain appropriate certificates and confidence to participate in the project, which was a challenge in many First Nation communities.
\"The demographic structure is much younger, and many people are in trouble at a very early age.
When they get into trouble at a very young age, they have criminal records, and criminal records follow them, \"Bull said.
\"This makes them irresistible in some jobs and creates debt when people don\'t want to see them as opportunities to create employees.
\"He wants to see provincial school curricula make it easier for students to enter the industry and encourage young people to see them as a viable career choice.
This is the message the twins want to convey to the young. -
Including his grandson-in Louis Bull.
\"That\'s what I told them. -
It\'s a small reservation. It\'s a vast world out there. Take risks, have a lot of work and get some knowledge, \"said the twins.
Following the initial installation of adult training centres, fire halls, start-up project centers and health centers in the first country, Louis Bull subsequently worked with 10 people from the Iron Earth Organization, which retrained oil and gas workers in the renewable energy sector and installed 32 solar panels at the Louis Bulger Day Care Center.
Ian Wilson, Director of the Edmonton Chapter of Railway and Earth, said he was honored to participate in the installation of the Louis Bull.
He said his organization was set up to deal with the decline in oil prices and subsequent layoffs in the province.
\"If there aren\'t many jobs in oil and gas, we should get our workers on board. (
. . . This will bring many people back to work, \"he said.
One of them is Wesley Bull. -of-
Fifteen years of skilled technicians, he used his technology to install solar panels.
\"It helped me a lot. If I wanted to, it gave me a chance. \" (
Continue to pursue)
That way, \"he said.
\"Because I already have experience.
\"He looks forward to participating in more devices in the first country, but also to bringing these skills beyond Louisburg.
He said, \"If it\'s not feasible here, I can look elsewhere. . . I think it will help a lot, not just economically.
\"You can heat the whole house without gasoline or oil.
We don\'t have to rely on epcor or fortis. ”For Coun. Bull, self-
Determining and reducing dependence on external energy is an important part of the project.
\"As long as we are the first people, we are excluded from economic prosperity,\" Bull said.
\"When it comes to industrial or natural resource exploration, we\'ve never really been involved unless we get a kickback. . . Up to now.