Canada Invests in a New Global Initiative for Transitioning Remote Communities to Renewable Energy

News release

November 5, 2021                                 Glasgow, United Kingdom                              Natural Resources Canada

Access to reliable, clean and affordable energy is a global challenge. Many communities throughout the world reside in isolated areas too distant or too difficult to connect to traditional energy grids. A large number of these remote communities rely on diesel fuel for heat and power, polluting the air in those communities and releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. That is why the Government of Canada is investing in projects to help remote communities transition away from diesel and toward clean forms of energy.

The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Natural Resources, today announced that Canada will invest $500,000 in a new partnership with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) to support the transition of remote communities to renewable energy.

The initiative was officially launched by Minister Wilkinson, IRENA’s Director-General Francesco La Camera and CEC’s Director of Government Relations Nathalie Daoust during the session on Global Renewable Energy Microgrids Strategy, which was hosted by Indigenous Clean Energy at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, United Kingdom.

As founding members, Canada and Indigenous climate leaders will be able to demonstrate their experience and expertise in transitioning diesel-reliant remote communities toward clean energy with a focus on increasing local ownership of clean energy projects and on building local capacity and economic opportunities, including jobs for youth and women.

The Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC), a tri-national organization that is part of the Canada-U.S.-Mexico Agreement, will lead the initial North American component of this initiative. Through the CEC, Environment and Climate Change Canada will work with its counterparts in the U.S. and Mexico to develop best practices for transitioning remote communities to renewable energy and provide models and strategies for countries around the world facing similar challenges.

Mircogrids powered by renewable energy are essential components of a sustainable energy system in remote communities. In Canada, Indigenous remote communities can unlock the potential of renewables — such as wind, solar, hydro and biomass — as part of their pathway to energy independence.

Through the Clean Energy for Rural and Remote Communities program, Natural Resources Canada is supporting the Indigenous Clean Energy Social Enterprise’s Three Island Energy Initiative. This project aims to accelerate the global deployment of clean energy microgrids through local leadership, information and knowledge sharing by Indigenous, island, coastal and unconnected communities through partnerships with clean energy enterprises and financial institutions.

The Government of Canada and IRENA invite all countries participating at COP26 to join this new and very important initiative.


“Canada is proud to be the founding member of this important IRENA initiative. Our partnership will build a new global platform that will let Canada share its experience and expertise in clean energy for remote communities, helping communities around the world build their own capacity.”

The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson
Minister of Natural Resources Canada

“Decentralized renewable energy represents a viable solution in providing affordable, reliable and sustainable electricity to remote communities. IRENA will use its global membership and convening power to support remote communities in their energy transitions in pursuit of energy security and resilience, alleviating energy poverty and taking the next step toward an inclusive, just transition.”

Francesco La Camera
Director General of IRENA

“Isolated and remote communities are some of the most vulnerable to a changing climate, and must be given every opportunity to transition to cleaner, renewable and reliable sources of energy, both for local capacity building and for economic stability. By consolidating best practices and sharing them internationally, CEC is a model of cooperation and collaboration to help remote communities transition to cleaner energy.”

The Honourable Steven Guilbeault
Minister of Environment and Climate Change

“Remote and Indigenous communities are disproportionately impacted by energy challenges. The CEC’s North American initiative will help lay the foundation for a global effort to support communities in their transition to renewable energy and provide benefits, such as improving local air and water quality, enhancing energy security and providing new sources of revenue and economic opportunity.”

Richard A. Morgan
Commission for Environmental Cooperation

“Indigenous-led renewable energy in remote areas on Turtle Island (Canada) is making lasting and positive impacts to energy systems, environmental protection, social programs and circular economies, to name a few. The power of community-led initiatives go beyond measure and need to be at the forefront of climate action.”

Chris Henderson
Executive Director, Indigenous Clean Energy

Quick facts

  • The Clean Energy for Rural and Remote Communities is an eight-year, $220-million program to reduce reliance on fossil fuels in rural and remote communities by deploying and demonstrating renewable energy, encouraging energy efficiency and building local skills and capacity.

  • Through the Investing in Canada infrastructure Plan, the Government of Canada is investing more than $180 billion over 12 years in public transit projects, green infrastructure, social infrastructure, trade and transportation routes and Canada’s rural and northern communities.

Associated links


Ian Cameron
Senior Communications Advisor
Office of the Minister of Natural Resources


Media Relations
Natural Resources Canada


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