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Indigenous companies lead the way in renewables

Indigenous companies lead the way in renewables

Indigenous companies lead the way in renewables


Penticton Indian Band company, K’uL Management Group began exploring the emerging global hydrogen economy in the autumn of 2018 as a point of entry into the renewable hydrogen (RH2) and the power to gas (P2G) sectors. They formed K’uL H2Go to begin gathering R&D and market intelligence on the preferred path to impact in the Okanagan Valley and British Columbia. K’uL H2Go quickly aligned itself with prominent collaborative partners such as the University of British Columbia at Okanagan, NEL, Alstom, the BC Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Natural Resources Canada, FortisBC, the Hydrogen Technology & Energy Corporation (HTEC) and the Canadian Hydrogen Fuel Cell Association (CHFCA). Chief Eneas of the Penticton Indian Band said, “Indigenous nations and companies play an important leadership role in this transition to a clean energy economy. This is an opportunity for indigenous nations to maximize value from the energy infrastructure that is already crossing their lands. This is an opportunity for indigenous nations to direct and shape the future for generations to come.” CEO of K’uL Group, Jonathan Baynes, said, “K’uL H2Go is not about adding more pipelines, but is focused on 1) helping clean up existing pipelines, 2) supporting the distribution of renewable Hydrogen into the existing gas infrastructure and 3) creating additional revenue for indigenous nations as they benefit from the transition to renewables.”

In June 2019, the K’uL Group attended the IITIO Trade Mission and Conference at the University of Oklahoma College of Law in Norman, Oklahoma. The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service organized an indigenous business delegation to Dallas, Texas and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma that preceded the Seventh International Indigenous Trade Mission and Conference. Participants from Canada connected with industry leaders to learn about supplier diversity and supply chain opportunities in the southern US market. Prospective trading partners came together to plan and participate in a discussion of the global flow and exchange of indigenous values, goods, services and investments. Leading experts in the field of trade law, international trade finance and indigenous history met with authorities from indigenous business and tribal economic development leaders. They identified and discussed challenges and solutions in key areas such as indigenous international trade provisions, the Jay Treaty, the USMCA and Canada/US border issues with the goal of restoring historical commercial trade routes and partnerships. Oklahoma is home to many Native American tribes that conduct business in over 20 countries and is positioned to expand the North American P2G market by integrating RH2 from wind and solar into the existing natural gas infrastructure.

In July of 2019, K’uL H2Go began to explore the opportunities for a Canadian US market that would combine the strengths of both countries and coincide with the increased levels of investment and accelerated market movements across Asia, Europe and Australia. Since then, K’uL H2Go has partnered with ReGen Global to develop innovation and investment ecosystems in Canada and the US that rely on regenerative business models. These ecosystems are based on technology to market initiatives that focus on three main choke points for capital flows and market development in the RH2 economy: safety, cost and scale. K’uL H2Go and ReGen Global currently have several projects in the pipeline and are busy working with multiple prospective partners on a wide range of projects in the P2G space. K’uL and ReGen are currently in the contract phase for a biomass to RH2 project at an industrial park in Penticton, BC.

The Regen Global partners can play an essential role in the hydrogen decade by building intertribal, industry and R&D relationships that support and encourage innovation that impacts advanced project design and development. A cross-border relationship will be broadly beneficial in the development of the North American hydrogen economy by leveraging the complementary attributes of the Canadian and US markets. ReGen is currently developing RH2 micro-grid and P2G distributed generation opportunities as well as potential IPP status with an emphasis on traditional indigenous and tribal territories and the restoration of vibrant commercial activity in the energy, environmental and climate space.

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The K’uL Group leads and manages the business interests of the Penticton Indian Band (PIB) and is governed by its own independent board of business professionals. K’ul (pronounced Kh’ooL) is a Syilx word meaning to work, to make, to create. The root word is K’ul’n’chut’n which means Creator and in this context represents a dedication to adaptive growth and development based on a respectful stewardship of the natural world and its abundant resources. K’uL Group is seeking to build a sustainable economy that creates regenerative prosperity across multiple generations and is aligned with the values of the Okanagan Nation in British Columbia. The traditional territory of the Okanagan Nation Alliance crosses the US border into Washington state and the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Nation were all part of one historical nation prior to the establishment of the Canada US border. K’uL Group has an ongoing interest in working with tribes across the border while establishing cultural and commercial relationships through the International Inter-Tribal Trade and Investment Organization (IITIO) which is based in Ottawa.