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Newsletter October 17, 2022


Indigenous energy in Canada – a growing force

Jacob Irving, President

Indigenous peoples’ connection to Canadian energy began over 300 years ago.  The Government of Alberta tells us that “Alberta’s oil reserves first came to European attention through contact with the Chipewyan people. In 1715, a Chipewyan woman, Thanadelthur, told Governor James Knight of York Factory of a black tar-like substance found deep in the interior. Knight recorded the conversation in his journal entry for September 10, 1715.” While native people made use of the material at least for waterproofing canoes – its other uses have not been recorded – European settlers showed little interest. Like a number of aspects of Canada, it’s another example of the fact that Indigenous people got there first.

In 2021 the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) released a report on Indigenous peoples and the oil and gas industry. The report demonstrates that the industry is a source of income, economic opportunity, and community development for Indigenous Canadians. They make up 3.3% of the Canadian population but 6.3% of people employed by the upstream petroleum industry. Oil and gas, and mining, are the source of 8 out of 10 of the highest paid jobs for Indigenous people. As time has gone by and Indigenous employees have gained experience, CAPP reports that their representation among senior management in the industry is growing. Indigenous-owned service and supply businesses have also benefited from industry activity. In 2019 alone the industry procured more than $2.6 billion in goods and services from Indigenous businesses.

Indigenous participation in the energy sector is not limited to oil and gas. The electricity industry is also a major economic driver for many communities. This takes the form of joint ventures, supplying goods and services, and employment and training. According to Accelerating Transition, a recent report by Indigenous Clean Energy, there are nearly 2,500 Indigenous-affiliated clean energy projects in operation or in planning stages, including 197 medium-to-large renewable generation projects.

This summer the Pesâkâstêw Solar Project near Weyburn, Saskatchewan was put in operation. The facility is a 10 MW solar farm that will provide clean, renewable energy to the provincial grid. The project is owned by a limited partnership whose members are George Gordon First NationStar Blanket Cree Nation, and the independent power producer, Natural Forces.

The theme of this year’s Canada’s Energy Story is Indigenous energy. The publication will be featured on the ECC website. I would like to remind everyone that we are looking for contributions for this year’s edition. The deadline for providing a finished product is 18 November 2022. For more information, follow the link to Canada’s Energy Story.

Guest Column

Arne Wohlschlegel Managing Director, Siemens Energy Canada

Arne Wohlschlegel, Managing Director, Siemens Energy Canada

Woodfibre LNG’s president, Christine Kennedy, has said that her company “is working to incorporate a sustainable approach into as many aspects of our project’s engineering and design as possible. This includes using safe, efficient equipment for the LNG refrigeration process – like that which Siemens Energy will supply – to build what will become the world’s lowest-emission LNG export facility.” The project is expected to reach substantial completion in 2027 and be in commercial operation by September of that year.

This project represents an important incremental step in reducing GHG emissions. Relatively low-emission LNG will displace coal in Asian markets. And that LNG will be produced with the lowest emissions possible. The combination of Canada’s natural gas resources, its hydropower capacity, and Siemens Energy technology will demonstrate the potential for reducing GHG emissions in energy use and in energy production.


Karen Jensen, Marco Pasqua, Colin Durban – 3 of the keynote speakers

ECC member, Electricity Human Resources Canada, held its Agents of Change 2022 conference on 12 – 13 October in Toronto. The organization describes it as the key industry event of the year for organizations committed to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI).

Speakers, panelists, and attendees addressed, among other questions:

  • How can leadership, culture and HR strategies be strengthened to increase DEI?

  • How can industry leaders and HR teams’ effect systemic change, and improve DEI performance?

If you missed this year’s event and are interested in attending in 2023, the 2022 program will give you an overview of the nature of this annual event.


On 13 July ECC president Jacob Irving participated in a panel discussion at the Conference of Montreal 2022 entitled International Energy Security Amid Growing Tensions. The Conference is an annual event presented by the International Economic Forum of the Americas (IEFA). In addition to Jacob Irving, the panel included Adel El Gammal (Secretary General, European Energy Research Alliance),
John Cooper (Director General, FuelsEurope & Concawe), and Julie Dabrusin (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada). Reed Blakemore (Deputy Director, Global Energy Center, Atlantic Council) moderated the session.

In July ECC President Jacob Irving was honoured to attend the  launch of a 10 MW solar farm in Saskatchewan. Its proponents are George Gordon First Nation, Star Blanket Cree Nation, and independent power producer, Natural Forces.

The facility is located southwest of the city of Weyburn in the Rural Municipality of Weyburn. Attendees at the opening ceremony included representatives from SaskPower, the provincial government, and the two First Nations that are partners in the project.

The facility will provide enough clean, renewable power for approximately 2,500 Saskatchewan homes, using about 32,000 solar panels on 95 acres (38 hectares) of land.

The addition of the new facility brings total Saskatchewan solar power capacity to 70 MW connected to the grid.


Calling All Young Energy Professionals – ECC is inviting young energy workers to connect with their colleagues in the various industries that make up the sector. Anyone under 35 and working on Canadian #energy issues can join our Young Energy Professionals Network. Meet others in the energy sector and build your skills and knowledge.

In August ECC sent out a broadcast invitation for contributions to the 2022 edition of Canada’s Energy Story. This year’s edition will feature stories about Indigenous peoples’ participation in the energy sector. The deadline to submit an article is November 18.

If you want to contribute to Canada’s Energy Story, please complete a submission form that includes a high-quality jpg file of your organization’s logo with accompanying photos and graphics. The final article should be submitted in a docx file format. Once both the form and article have been submitted, the relevant information will be transferred to the document’s design template. All organizations will receive a formatted draft of their article as it will appear in the document to make final edits prior to publication.

There are also opportunities to advertise your organization in Canada’s Energy Story. Advertising opportunities are available in this year’s publication, including Full-Page, Half-Page and Quarter-Page options. Contact if you are interested and would like to learn more or if you have any questions about Canada’s Energy Story


On Monday, 12 September, ECC hosted a delegation of officials from the Republic of Indonesia. In addition to the Ambassador and Embassy staff, two representatives from the Indonesian National Energy Council (NEC), Dr. Herman Darnel Ibrahim, and Dr. Yusra Khan, attended. We presented an overview presentation about Canada and the Canadian energy sector. Indonesian officials are interested in several areas of Canadian expertise, including small modular reactors and carbon capture utilization and storage. We agreed to continue our contact and connect officials with industry organizations that can provide detailed information on the subjects in which they are interested.

ECC President Jacob Irving attended the inaugural carbon capture conference in Edmonton in late September. The event was the first global conference on this topic. The sessions were organized around 6 themes: safe CCUS, low-carbon growth strategies, challenges and opportunities, Canada’s climate action, Canada’s R&D fund, and technological innovation.

The conference brought together experts from around the world. It gave Canada a good opportunity to showcase our advanced position in this technology. Canada has two large-scale facilities and two small-scale facilities – one of each in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

The event allowed delegates to share information directly with one another, while at the same time making CCUS more widely known in Canada.


Maine Supreme Court strikes down elements of referendum opposing transmission line from Quebec to New York City
The developers of the proposed Champlain Hudson transmission line received some encouraging news in August. The project is designed to bring electricity from Hydro-Québec to New York City. While the project received regulatory approval from New York State, a referendum in 2021 calling for cancellation of the line received majority support in Maine which contains part of the line’s route. The measure that Maine adopted did not identify the project specifically. It was a measure of general application. The developers challenged the legitimacy of the referendum process. The Maine Supreme Court declared unconstitutional the elements of the referendum measure that effectively would have applied retroactively.

Canada cites 1977 Treaty to challenge threats to shut Line 5 in US

Canada invoked the Transit Pipeline Treaty again in response to concerns that the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa will try to shut down Line 5, which transits their reservation. Enbridge plans to re-route the line to bypass their territory.

Canada and the US negotiated the Treaty in the 1970s. The impetus for concluding an agreement was originally for the benefit of the US. At the time, Alaska became a significant oil producing region. Several proposals were put forward for a pipeline linking Alaska to the Lower 48 states by way of western Canada. A pre-condition for developing a line was an assurance that Canada would not interfere with its operation. In the event, no line from Alaska was constructed across Canadian territory. However, the Treaty is still in effect and is not limited to the Alaska proposals.

In 1953 Bechtel Corporation built what is now known as Enbridge’s Line 5. It extends 1038 km from Superior, Wisconsin to Sarnia, Ontario. Most of its route is in Michigan. The line supplies much of the state’s Upper Peninsula with petroleum products. Governor Gretchen Whitmer had revoked in 2021 Enbridge’s right to use an underwater easement in the state. While the revocation remains in place, a federal court declared the dispute a federal matter and effectively voided the state’s order to shut down the line.

Both the state and stakeholder groups continue to challenge the line’s operation in the courts.

Canada and Germany to work together on hydrogen

Canada and Germany concluded an agreement in August to form a Hydrogen Alliance. The Alliance commits the two countries to enable investment in hydrogen projects by harmonizing policy; support the development of secure hydrogen supply chains; establish a transatlantic Canada–Germany supply corridor; and export clean Canadian hydrogen by 2025.

The Economist reveals surprising stats on comparative safety and emissions in electricity 
The Economist magazine published an article in July that discussed both the safety and GHG emissions of nuclear energy compared to alternative electricity sources. Statistics indicate that, contrary to a widely accepted perception, between 1990 and 2014 only solar electricity generation recorded fewer fatalities per unit of energy produced. Nuclear power is also tied with wind power in CO2 released per gigawatt/hour of electricity produced.

Coastal GasLink cost estimates revised upward

TC Energy announced in July that the Coastal GasLink pipeline that it is building to serve Canada’s first LNG export facility in British Columbia will cost 70% more than the original estimate. The project is 70% complete and is expected to be finished by the end of 2023. The cost of the line is now expected to be $11.2 billion. TC Energy cited Covid and delays from protests, including an armed attack on workers in February, for the increase.