Finalists Women Social Leadership Awards 2013
First Power is designed to empower First Nations to gain access to and ownership of renewable energy.
Trust is a key issue in working with Indigenous communities
First Power aims to transform the world’s relationship to energy. Our work harnesses Indigenous wisdom, the power of culture, community ownership, while tackling poverty through meaningful work and business development. Clean energy is a platform for economic transformation. We support communities replacing diesel power with clean power, we co-develop commercial projects that sell back to the grid with communities retaining majority ownership.
It is not enough to just replace dirty energy with clean, we need to also empower communities to own energy, through processes that share power, through innovative finance, through operating and maintaining systems. Vandalism is not an issue on our projects because communities do not harm what is sacred, by marking clean energy systems with art, they become sacred expressions of culture. The solar and wind technology systems are providing heat, light and power and they are transformed into the sacred.
Trust is a key issue in working with Indigenous communities. Many experiences with outsiders have harmed the people and scarred the land.
Our business model is based on the measurement of
1. Good green, lasting jobs that honour traditional teachings, in communities that have rampant unemployment.
2. Dramatic C02 reductions and replacement of nuclear power plants.
Our Integrated approach to energy, economic development and capacity building creates many service offerings to communities once we have built relationships. Our services are designed with the communities and so we easily hit top priorities.
We enter into working with communities through 3 types of services:
- community planning,
- energy planning and
- youth engagement services and projects.
All build relationships and create trust and meaningful partnerships.
Our system work and commercial energy projects fall out of the planning and engagement work.
We partner constantly across sectors, government agencies, utilities, academics, diverse practitioners (economic development, small energy experts, health and well-being experts, and artists).
Donna Morton | First Power Canada