By Tawnya Plain Eagle
Files from AltaLink
PiikaniLink (PLP) and KainaiLink’s (KLP) strong commitment to sustainability in their operations was recognized this week during a virtual awards ceremony hosted by the Canadian Electricity Association (CEA).
The CEA announced AltaLink, PiikaniLink and KainaiLink as recipients of the 2020 Award for Advancement of an Integrated Approach to Sustainability for AltaLink’s two limited partnerships with the Piikani Nation and the Kainai-Blood Tribe, who are now long-term investors in high-voltage electricity infrastructure on their land.
“Our partnerships with the people of the Piikani Nation and the Kainai-Blood Tribe are a first for AltaLink and a first for Alberta. We are proud of how this collaboration has led to mutually beneficial results for everyone,” said Scott Thon, AltaLink’s President and Chief Executive Officer.
“Having strong, sustainable relationships with the Indigenous communities we serve not only supports the reliability of the grid, but promotes a dialogue to help us better understand the history, culture and priorities of Indigenous communities as we grow together.”
The new partnerships – PiikaniLink and KainaiLink – have both Piikani Nation and the Kainai-Blood Tribe investing 51 per cent of the ownership for the portion of the transmission line on their respective lands, allowing them to earn a regulated rate of return on their investment. AltaLink will continue to maintain the transmission line on behalf of each partnership.
“Congratulations to AltaLink and their project partners for achieving the Advancement of an Integrated Approach to Sustainability award. This project not only represents a positive environmental impact, but also a celebration of Indigenous partnerships that will strengthen our collective future,” said Francis Bradley, Canadian Electricity Association President and CEO.
PLP acquired approximately $52.6M of transmission assets (including a portion of the transmission line and substation equipment) located on Piikani Reserve lands.
“Piikani Nation is proud of its partnership with AltaLink and to have become an owner of transmission infrastructure on our reserve,” Councilor Doane Crow Shoe said, who also serves as the President of Piikani Resource Development Ltd.
“We believe we have forged a path for our Nation, as well as other Indigenous communities and proponents in the growing energy sector of Alberta. This truly is a sustainable partnership and we look forward to the long-term benefits alongside AltaLink.”
This award is given to a utility company across Canada that has demonstrated outstanding leadership in the development, implementation, and maintenance of an integrated sustainability strategy within the company.
During consultation for AltaLink’s Southwest 240 kV project, AltaLink worked closely with the Piikani Nation and the Kainai-Blood Tribe to reach an innovative agreement that allowed the new transmission line to cross First Nations land, saving millions of dollars for Alberta electricity customers.
KLP acquired approximately $34.65M of transmission assets (including a portion of the transmission line) located on Blood Reserve lands.
“I am pleased that this partnership has finally come to fruition. It has been a lengthy process and I would like to thank previous Kainai leadership for their role in setting the groundwork for this to happen. I would also like to thank AltaLink for all their efforts in making this a reality,” said Councilor Tim Tailfeathers, also the Chair of Blood Tribe’s Economic Development Committee.
“I am looking forward to Kainai fully participating in the economy of Alberta. I hope that the future brings many more partnerships that will result in stronger relationships between the Blood Tribe and Alberta.”