Canada Announces Funding for Wind Farm at M’Chigeeng First Nation

The Honourable John Duncan, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, and the Honourable Tony Clement, Minister for FedNor, announced today a Government of Canada investment of $980,000 to enable the M’Chigeeng First Nation to implement the first phase of its Mother Earth Renewable Energy (MERE) Wind Farm Project.

Of the total, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada will provide $500,000 to support the construction and installation phase of the project. FedNor funding of $480,000 will support engineering and project management costs associated with the installation of two wind turbines. The M’Chigeeng First Nation will contribute in excess of $3,000,000 to complete the wind power project.

"Today’s announcement demonstrates our Government’s ongoing commitment to supporting First Nation communities across Canada," said Minister Duncan. "This clean energy initiative will encourage economic growth, create local jobs, and support renewable energy."

"Investing in strategic initiatives that encourage business development is a key priority of the Government of Canada," said Minister Clement. "This initiative will allow the M’Chigeeng First Nation to be among the first Aboriginal communities in Ontario to embrace green power generation as a way to strengthen the local economy and position the community for long-term growth and prosperity."

The MERE Wind Farm, a renewable energy initiative owned by the M’Chigeeng First Nation, will be a two wind turbines project built on 100 acres of land overlooking Lake Huron. At full capacity, the Enercon E-82 wind turbines will generate up to 4,000 kilowatts of clean, renewable electricity. Total energy production will be 10 GWh per year. The First Nation will sell all power to Ontario Power Generation through a 20 year, Feed-In-Tariff contract. Turbine Installation at the Wind Farm is set to begin in September 2011, with completion in November 2011.

"The M’Chigeeng First Nation community welcomes this funding and looks forward to the completion of this project," said Chief Joseph Hare. "This project brings us one step closer to becoming a leader in sustainable development in the renewable energy sector, and generating additional income for the community. Our commitment to this project also includes securing additional funding of $8,500,000 to complete the project."

M’Chigeeng First Nation’s wind farm is expected to create several immediate jobs for First Nation members, and to generate business opportunities during the construction and operational phases of the project. The wind farm implementation will provide First Nation people with an opportunity to develop useful skills in renewable energy technology and environment protection.

The Government of Canada contributes to First Nations in a number of areas to support economic development, Aboriginal business development and labour market outcomes. Funding for this initiative was made available through Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada’s Community Economic Opportunities Program and Major Resource and Energy Development Initiative, as well as FedNor’s Northern Ontario Development Program. This investment is in keeping with the Government’s Federal Framework for Aboriginal Economic Development.