Groups break ground on Ontario’s 19-MW Gitchi Animki small hydropower project

Members of the Pic Mobert First Nation and others gathered last week to break ground on the 18.9-MW Gitchi Animki hydropower project.

The project, located along the White River in northern Ontario, is being developed by the Pic Mobert Hydro Power Joint Venture. The group represents a partnership between subsidiaries of the Pic Mobert First Nation and Regional Power, Inc.

Gitchi Animki actually consists of two small hydropower stations, including the Gitchi Animki Bezhig and Gitchi Animki Niizh. The plants will be located in the traditional territory of the Netamasakomik People of the Pic Mobert First Nation, and are two of the first contracted under the Ontario Power Authority’s Feed-in Tariff Program.

“This is the greatest economic achievement of our nation and people in our modern history,” Pic Mobert chief Johanna Desmoulin said. “This has been a long journey that has been motivated and energized by our people, who will benefit from this work for many generations.”

Funding for the project will be provided by Canadian renewable investor Manulife Financial, with developers also crediting the Ontario government and province’s power authority for their help as well.

“Beyond financial assistance, the support and contributions of the various levels of government and local and regional stakeholders that we interacted with during the development process have been valued, and we believe have contributed to a very successful project design and plan,” said Norman Jaehrling, managing director of the Gitchi Animki Energy Corporation. The corporation is a subsidiary company that holds the Pic Mobert First Nation’s ownership interest in the venture.

HydroWorld.com reported in September that Dragados Canada Inc. had been awarded a US$102 million contract for the project’s construction.

Personnel and equipment is beginning to move toward the work sites, developers said, with construction and commissioning expected to take about two years.

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