Co-develop recommendations on strategic policies and initiatives for clean and sustainable energy. This includes identifying and supporting First Nations-led clean energy opportunities related to CleanBC, the Comprehensive Review of BC Hydro, and the BC Utilities Commission Inquiry on the Regulation of Indigenous Utilities.

Ministry of Energy, Mines, and Low Carbon Innovation

Year started


Current year


How far along
is this work?


How complicated
is this work?


Are there


How are we
working together?


Capacity Building: 

In June 2023, Indigenous Clean Energy Opportunities (ICEO) held a two-day virtual workshop on hydrogen market opportunities, knowledge building presentations on the electricity sector and an interactive overview of BC Hydro’s UNDRIP implementation plan. Participation for the June workshop included representation from 50 First Nations. Presentations were delivered by subject experts and developed based on commonly asked questions from First Nations. The full two days were facilitated by First Nations Energy and Mining Council (FNEMC) facilitators and included opportunities for participants to ask questions and raise concerns. Presentations and additional resources from these two days can be found on the ICEO website: IndigenousCleanEnergyOpportunities.gov.bc.ca

Developing Strategic Relationships: 

The electricity table advisory group (ETAG), made up of First Nations and non-Indigenous representatives with technical and subject matter expertise in the electricity sector, informed the development of the June 2023 energy workshop and continues to advise the ICEO on priorities for the electricity table. 

Capacity and relationships built as a result of ETAG have led to additional relationships, with First Nations ETAG representatives serving as advisors on the BC Hydro task force and BC Hydro’s UNDRIP implementation committee, as well as supporting BC Hydro’s call for power engagement and development.

How are we working together?

FNEMC and Ministry of Energy, Mines, and Low Carbon Innovation (EMLI) representatives have developed a strong working relationship co-leading the ICEO process. Meetings occur bi-weekly, or more frequently as particular engagements approach. The ICEO team utilizes their mutual connections to facilitate conversations among First Nations representatives, BC Hydro, Fortis BC, the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC), and various branches within EMLI to encourage co-development and early engagement on program, policies, proposed legislative changes, and CleanBC roadmap initiatives. 

Are there challenges?

Many First Nations have expressed an interest in ensuring a consistent revenue stream through clean power projects. While the launching of BC Hydro’s call for power for an additional 3,000GWh annually between 2028 and 2031 was welcomed, First Nations have expressed disappointment with the timing of the announcement and short time frame for responding to this call. In addition, many First Nations proposed project plans fall below the minimum 40MW threshold which is the minimum size project in the call. 

In June 2023, the Province announced it is providing $140 million to the New Relationship Trust’s BC Indigenous Clean Energy Initiative (BCICEI) to support Indigenous-led power projects, create economic opportunities for First Nations, and advance community self-determination. The Province’s $140 million contribution will support smaller Indigenous-led power projects (under 15 megawatts) that may otherwise not be competitive in BC Hydro’s upcoming call for power due to their smaller size. The ICEO will continue to provide information to First Nations on how they may access this program, once developed. Through ICEO, FNEMC has met with the New Relationship Trust and the BCICEI program development team and offered to support program development and engagement to help ensure it meets the needs of First Nations. 

Access to capital for First Nations interested in infrastructure ownership and/or equity participation continues to be a concern and barrier identified by FNEMC and First Nations communities.

B.C.’s Budget 2024 established enabling tools to help support equity financing opportunities for First Nations. These tools include equity loan guarantees and potentially other supports that may be required for First Nations meaningful participation in projects, where there is shared interest and readiness with the Province. The provincial government continues to work with the federal government on aligning efforts on these types of programs. The ICEO will provide information and details as these opportunities become available for First Nations. 

Capacity within FNEMC and EMLI has been limited as changing priorities in the clean energy space and within the ministry, and pressing work on BC Hydro’s call for power, have taken precedence for staff from both organizations in 2023. 

ICEO staff from both organizations continue to exercise agility in responding to changing priorities as determined by EMLI’s Minister mandate letter and strategic priorities, BC Hydro’s call for power (announced June 15, 2023), and clean energy priorities as raised by First Nations. EMLI and FNEMC will continue an open dialogue around resource constraints and are open to exploring and approaching other funding sources, as needed, for additional resources to support ICEO and clean energy initiatives.

Previous years’ progress

2022/2023 progress details

Action 4.43 – Year 1 progress image shows: How far along – implementation, how complicated is the work – some complexity, are there challenges – moderate challenges, how are we working together – moderate engagement.


Based on feedback from workshops hosted in March 2022 by the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation (EMLI) and the First Nations Energy and Mining Council (FNEMC), First Nations leadership provided approval for three engagement tables to proceed: Electricity Table, Hydrogen Market Opportunities Table and Legislative Standing Table. Engagement for 2022/23 included the following: opportunities in hydrogen and renewable natural gas; a learning series on electricity markets, systems and regulation; and development of a joint process for engagement on clean energy regulation and legislation.           

Legislative Standing Table: EMLI and FNEMC to develop the Legislative Standing table to bring forward provincially proposed clean energy legislative and regulatory changes for discussion with First Nations on alignment with the UN Declaration as per the Declaration Act section 3 obligations.

Electricity Table: In November 2022, FNEMC and EMLI convened an Electricity Table Advisory Group (ETAG) consisting of Indigenous and industry leaders. The ETAG, facilitated by a third-party contractor, will discuss opportunities in the electricity sector and provide advice to EMLI and FNEMC on the implementation of activities outlined in the Indigenous Clean Energy Opportunities (ICEO) workplan for the Electricity Table.

The ETAG terms of feference, formally approved in December 2022, provides a list of members and scope of activities for the first two years of the ETAG and can be found on the ICEO website. An Indigenous graphic facilitator captured the discussions in a visual form to illustrate plans for the Electricity Table and ICEO. With input from ETAG members, FNEMC and EMLI have developed a framework for a series of ‘Electricity 101 knowledge sessions’, that will be presented (in-person) to rights holders at a clean energy workshop in Summer 2023.

Hydrogen Table: The BC Hydrogen Office (BCHO) and FNEMC have formed a strong partnership since the workplan began. Jointly, the BCHO and FNEMC are developing an Indigenous Hydrogen Opportunities Analysis. On January 31, 2023, a ‘Hydrogen 101 Workshop’ was presented and met with great success. The workshop had over 50 participants and stimulated many questions and much interest. Planning is underway for a second (in-person) workshop to be held in Summer 2023.

The goals for this action include the following:

  • First Nations are fully positioned to participate in current and future opportunities in B.C.’s clean energy sector, and
  • Recommendations to decision makers for legislation, regulation and policy related to clean energy are jointly developed.


  • Implementation project underway: A BCHO/FNEMC Hydrogen Initiative was launched via virtual successful workshop on January 31, 2023.
  • Strategic engagement underway: Development of the ETAG, made up of Indigenous and non-Indigenous representatives with technical and subject matter expertise in the electricity sector, to provide advice to FNEMC and EMLI on carrying out activities of the Electricity Table. Three meetings of the ETAG have been held.

How are we working together?

The ICEO is a co-developed, co-led process between EMLI and FNEMC and is subject to the individual parties’ authorities, responsibilities and internal structures and processes.

FNEMC and EMLI representatives have developed a strong working relationship through co-developing and co-leading the ICEO engagement process. Their relationship continues to achieve the following objectives:

  • Build a relationship based on trust and respect for each other’s perspectives
  • Apply a “solution-oriented” approach to all work to implement this engagement process
  • Set timelines, and
  • Work with due consideration for timelines and share all relevant information in a timely manner.

ICEO engagement enhances the relationship between Indigenous Peoples and the Province by inviting the parties to engage in open thinking and transparent dialogue with a view to

  • Align Indigenous and provincial government decision-making on the policy program options, and
  • Improve the economic, environmental, social and cultural outcomes for Indigenous Peoples in British Columbia.

Are there challenges?

Pressure to engage on and implement activities under the ICEO terms of reference will grow in fiscal year 2023/24 and exceed available FNEMC and EMLI resources (staff resources and approved budgets).

Implementation of ICEO activities and outcomes may occur slower than desired by rights holders and Indigenous organizations.

Items identified by rights holders as part of 21/22 ICEO engagements are not currently being addressed under ICEO, but may be addressed in future years, such as:

  • Resource revenue sharing on BC Hydro projects and compensation from the impacts of past infringements
  • Indigenous clean energy infrastructure ownership
  • Participation in governance, employment and contracting with BC Hydro
  • Transition from diesel to renewable power generation in remote First Nation communities (currently advanced by EMLI outside of ICEO process), and
  • Jointly developing recommendations for the Provincial Cabinet on a proposed regulatory framework for Indigenous utilities.

Many Nations are focused on power sales agreements with BC Hydro when new power supply is not immediately required or feasible at prices set in previous procurements.