Fort Chipewyan – Located downstream from tar sands development, Fort Chipewyan has started to move forward on a different type of energy source, using free power from the sun.
From September 16 to September 22, solar panels will be installed on the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation Elder and Youth Lodge with an official ribbon cutting ceremony to take place on September 19.
The installation will be the first of many projects that will be constructed in the region.
Keepers of the Athabasca, a group of local Elders who are working together to protect the ecological health of the region, hope this project will be an example. As other First Nation communities feel the impacts of tar sands development first-hand, the benefits of solar could be a way to bring them together, while offering an alternative to unsustainable and destructive energy sources.
“While we continue to stand up for the rights and health of our members we must also be actively seeking solutions,” said Chief Allan Adam of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation. “We are proud to help lead the way and hopefully this is only one of many solar projects we hope to bring to our community and the province.”
“The possibilities for solar in Alberta are almost endless,” said Jesse Cardinal with Keepers of the Athabasca. “First Nation communities – especially ones that are isolated and reliant on diesel for power — stand to benefit the most from a transition. These panels are an example of the type of solutions our communities should be implementing ones that create jobs, lower energy costs and don’t hurt the environment to do it.”