Cowessess woman representing her nation on global clean energy stage

A Cowessess First Nation woman represents her nation at a global climate change conference to share the progress her community has made on clean energy. Photo supplied: Daphne Kay

Daphne Kay is hoping to learn, connect and build relationships at this year’s global COP27 conference in Cairo, Egypt to talk about climate change. She is the Indigenous delegate representing her home community of Cowessess First Nation, where she is sharing how they are committed to clean energy.

“My intentions for coming on this trip were to meet with other Indigenous Peoples from around the world, to share our stories and to meet with world leaders and changemakers to ensure that the voices … are heard and are brought to those decision-making tables and are acknowledged and adhered to,” she said.

Kay is the community energy specialist for Cowessess Ventures Ltd., which was established by Cowessess First Nation to move the economic development mandate forward and to develop business opportunities.

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“Cowessess First Nation’s clean energy journey really began over 10 years ago with our leaders at the time, knowing that clean energy goes hand in hand with our traditional values as Indigenous people to take care of the land,” said Kay.

“When Cowessess First Nation got into the sector, we wanted to start small. We wanted to get our feet wet and our grounding. So, we started with the one-megawatt Cowessess First Nation renewable energy storage facility, which is a one-megawatt wind battery and store solar facility.”

Last week, Cowessess First Nation officially opened the 10-megawatt Awasis solar facility, which is the province’s newest Indigenous-owned solar facility that provides clean energy.

“We will use the revenue, the profit of this project to make sure we reinvest in our renewable energy projects,” Chief Cadmus Delorme said at the Awasis solar facility opening on Nov. 9. “Some of the profit made will lead to us having more investment in not only owning the project, having it on our line, but having equity as well. Secondly, some of the profit made will go to underfunded areas — language, family, culture, off and on reserves.”

It’s something that Kay is proud to be part of in her role at Cowessess Ventures Ltd., and to be able to share this and other initiatives her community is doing.

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“It was a fantastic moment of celebration to have the community there to be able to also see the other assets that our nation is building for future generations,” she said. “Which will also supply electricity to the source power grid and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, among other fantastic project benefits.

So far, Kay has met with many delegates at the COP27 conference, including several ministers from the government of Canada, both in the Senate and the House of Commons, she said.

“That (has) allowed us to really meet on a personal level, whereas we don’t always get those opportunities back at home,” she said.

Kay is excited to bring home the knowledge she gained and hopes Indigenous youth will use their voices and stories to fight climate change. The COP27 climate change conference runs from Nov. 6 to 18.

Click to play video: 'Cowessess First Nation’s solar facility near Regina now up and running'
Cowessess First Nation’s solar facility near Regina now up and running


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