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IESO Energy Support Programs for Indigenous Communities



The following overview of IESO energy support programs is for Indigenous communities. These programs are designed to help First Nation and Metis communities with their energy needs including capacity, energy planning and energy solutions.


If you have any questions about IESO programs or funding, please contact us. We deal extensively with the IESO and have a detailed understanding of all programs. Call us at (705) 657-1126 or by email at spirit@indigenousaware.com.


Overview of IESO (Independent Electricity System Operator) Funding Programs

The Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) is part of the Ontario electricity system.


The IESO is responsible for:


- Managing the needs (supply and demand of the electricity system in real time;

- Planning for Ontario's future energy needs; and

- Enabling conservation


The IESO offers a suite of 4 energy related funding programs specific to First Nation and Metis communities.


1) Indigenous Community Energy Plan (ICEP)

2) Community Energy Champion (CEC)

3) Education and Capacity Building (ECB)

4) Indigenous Energy Projects (IEP)


Here is a short overview of each of the 4 energy related funding programs specific to First Nation and Metis communities,


Indigenous Community Energy Plan (ICEP)

- Formerly the Aboriginal Community Energy Plan (ACEP) program

- The ICEP program support First Nation and Metis communities and organizations to develop and maintain community energy plans

- Major aims are to enhance community energy security (access to cost effective energy), increase conservation and efficiency, investigate renewable energy solutions, and promote energy awareness and understanding

- Indigenous communities can use this funding to complete their community energy plan

- Funding is available to update an Indigenous communities energy plan every 2 years. An Indigenous (or Metis) community can apply for funding to update their community energy plan.


Community Energy Champion (CEC)

- This is a relatively new program

- Funding to hire an designated energy human resource to focus on energy related priorities

- Funding is typically for a period of up to 3 years

- Indigenous communities can reapply once the funding period is over (provided that the CEC program still exists)

- Indigenous communities should try to build a case to continue the CEC position and find alternative funding as a back up.


Education and Capacity Building (ECB)

- The ECB program supports energy awareness, education, and training initiatives within First Nation and Metis communities.

- All funding under the ECB must be related to "capacity building" within the community

- ECB funding is typically over an 18 month period

- ECB funding extensions can be requested

- Additional ECB funding may be available. It is important to apply for ECB funding at each intake interval.


Indigenous Energy Project (IEP)

- The Indigenous Energy Project (IEP) program supports "supply side" solutions within First Nation and Metis communities

- IEP funding must be related to energy generation (particularly renewable or other innovative technologies) or transmission projects

- IEP funding towards the assessment and development of partnerships is also available (for energy generation or transmission projects)

- IEP funding will only cover a portion of the total project cost (up to a limit) communities have to chip in

- CIPS recommends that First Nations consider applying to the IEP to support potential energy generation pilot projects


Why Do You Need to Know About IESO Funding Programs?

- The IESO programs can potentially be the core components of a First Nations energy initiatives

- As time goes on, First Nation communities may identify initiatives that can potentially be funded by IESO programs

- As First Nations communities continue their role as community energy champions, more and more reporting and writing responsibilities will fall on that community (IESO funding agreements)


How the IESO Funding Programs Work

1) First Nations community applies to the desired IESO funding program. There is often a back and forth with the IESO, but they are generally very helpful


2) Community accepts funding agreement. There will be a funding execution date and contract end date, which are important to take note of as only expenses within these dates are eligible for funding


3) Reporting. Check ins and reporting requirements are different for each program, but are typically required for the community to receive disbursements. Check ins are fairly straight

forward, and designed to let the IESO assess progress and that funds are being spent where they are supposed to be. Reporting and deliverable dates will be provided in the executed funding agreement on a program by program basis.


4) Disbursements. The IESO will release funds to the community in various disbursements (each with certain limits). Typically, the IESO will release the fist disbursement at the start

of the program, but the community must prove to the IESO that all of these funds are spent before it releases the next. In addition - the final disbursement will only be released when all

project related expenses have been paid, meaning that the community will have to pay in advance (but will be reimbursed).


5) Flexibility. The IESO is typically flexible (somewhat). In most cases, applications are generalized and lack extensive detail. The IESO will allow for some minor variations (as long

as the total amount is not exceeded and all requirements are met). As a rule of thumb, always contract the IESO to duscuss and get approval before deviation from what is defined in the application.


Impacts of Covid 19

- The covid pandemic has caused significant delays with energy initiatives in most First Nation communities

- IESO extremely flexible. Will likely have to update workplans and submit a change request to the IESO to adjust the budget/extend project timeframes


This is a very brief overview of IESO energy support programs for Indigenous communities. Our CIPS Energy and Infrastructure Manager, Shayne Hill has been kind enough to put a short video the IESP energy support programs for Indigenous communities (see below).


To find out how we can help you with your communities energy needs, please see contact us at: (705) 657-1126 and ask to speak with Shayne Hill. You can also email us at: spirit@indigenousaware.com


To set up a short 15 minute consultation with our CEO, Mike Jacobs, please see this page here. Chi Miigwetch (thank you) and good luck!


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