By Jason Edworthy, Director, Stakeholder & Aboriginal Relations
BluEarth’s goal is to sustainably build, own and operate wind, run-of-river hydroelectric and solar generation projects in Canada from Cape Breton on the east coast to the west coast of British Columbia. Every project is located on the traditional territory of a First Nation or other Aboriginal group. BluEarth genuinely believes in developing renewable energy projects in partnerships with First Nations in a manner that maximizes social value, environmental protection as well as profit.
We respect Aboriginal, Treaty and Constitutional Rights, as well as the rights of Aboriginal peoples to self-governance of their territories. BluEarth has great respect for the traditions, knowledge and involvement of Aboriginal groups.
When we acquire projects that have existing agreements with, or commitments to, First Nations and other Aboriginal groups, we honour those commitments and work hard to further opportunities.
In new projects, BluEarth seeks to partner with First Nations as equals, where both parties share in economic benefits while sharing proportionally in the risks and cost of the joint venture. We believe that trust is the foundation for long-term successful partnerships, and we know that trust is only developed over time, by working together with honesty and transparent communications.
We have several projects in progress where we are demonstrating these principles. In Ontario, we have partnered with the Batchewana First Nation to develop the Nodin Kitagan partnership that is developing the Bow Lake Wind Project on Anishinaabe Territory in the Sault Ste. Marie region. In British Columbia, we are working with the Squamish Nation as we prepare to construct a new run-of-river hydro project, engaging in discussions on how to maximize employment and contracting opportunities for Nation members.
BluEarth believes in supporting Aboriginal youth. BluEarth is launching a new program, which will support Aboriginal post-secondary and trades education, especially in the renewable energy industry. This new bursary, to be announced in detail later this year, will also include one-on-one mentoring by BluEarth staff.
BluEarth invests in projects that can successfully realize value for local communities, manage environmental impacts, and be financially profitable for all parties. We believe that good projects, developed in partnership with Aboriginal people on their territories, will lead to the fulfillment of those values.