More funding to accelerate the installation of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations for Indigenous communities and businesses across Canada.
By Indigenous Clean Energy
OTTAWA, ON, May 31, 2023 – Indigenous Clean Energy (ICE) is pleased to announce the expansion of the Charge Up program, which includes increased funding and extended timelines for application and project completion for participants.
Introduced in early 2022, the Charge Up program aims to help power up a national Indigenous electric highway with the support of the Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program (ZEVIP) from Natural Resources Canada (NRCan).
The Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program (ZEVIP) is a $680 million initiative that addresses the lack of charging and refuelling stations in Canada—a key barrier to the adoption of zero-emission vehicles (ZEV)—by increasing the availability of charging stations.
In 2021, ICE was selected as one of ZEVIP’s delivery organizations. In this role, ICE is distributing funding for electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure development to Indigenous communities and businesses across the country.
According to Jessica Tait, Program Coordinator for Charge Up, “There’s an awareness that the transition is coming. We have entrepreneurs with established gas stations that know embracing change is critically important for businesses supporting transportation. We have businesses and communities that recognize that travel and tourism will depend on visitors having access to EV chargers. But this isn’t just about economics. Applicants have shared that it’s also about building relationships, supporting traditional values, world views, and healing. There has also been a strong interest in supporting community members. There might not be a high demand for charging stations right now, but Indigenous leadership knows that for community needs to be supported, access to charging infrastructure will need to be integrated into broader community plans. ICE Charge Up is one path to accessing support for projects that create both social and economic opportunities.”
This funding is critical for closing the EV infrastructure gap between urban and rural populations. Through the Charge Up program, Indigenous People across Canada will have better access to charging stations—enabling them to transition to electric vehicles more readily on the path to a net-zero future.
The initial funding available for redistribution for projects through the ICE Charge Up program last year was $275,000. On Friday, May 26, 2023, NRCan increased the total funding for redistribution to $1.6M for projects supported by Charge Up. This represents nearly a six-fold increase from the initial funding.
“The Government of Canada is working with Indigenous partners to deliver a more sustainable future. Partnerships with organizations like Indigenous Clean Energy are vital to deploying EV charging infrastructure while creating good jobs and affordable transportation options in communities.” said the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Natural Resources. “From the Awasis Solar Project in the Prairies to Oneida Energy Storage with Six Nations, Indigenous partners are leaders in powering the future. This is how we are building good partnerships to ensure all communities can access net-zero opportunities across the value chain.”
Through the Charge Up program, Indigenous-led projects will be reimbursed up to 75% of the cost for the purchase and installation of EV charging stations. Individual applicants will be eligible for reimbursement up to $99,999 each.
“This is an unprecedented opportunity for Indigenous Peoples and businesses to develop stronger community leadership in clean energy technologies and the future of green transportation. We are confident that, through the Charge Up program, we will see an impactful Indigenous presence in a nationwide electric vehicle charging infrastructure network that will benefit communities in countless ways,” expressed James Jenkins, Indigenous Clean Energy Executive Director.
The program is open to all First Nation, Inuit and Métis communities and businesses. Indigenous businesses may be non-profit or for-profit but must be legal entities, validly incorporated or registered in Canada.
About Indigenous Clean Energy (ICE)
ICE is the leading platform in accelerating First Nations, Inuit, and Métis participation in clean energy projects in Canada from coast to coast to coast. ICE supports Indigenous Peoples to be clean energy change agents through capacity building, skills development, career training, and mentorship with high-quality and hands-on programming that is by, for and with community.