Ontario First Nations to identify renewable energy opportunities

Anishinabek First Nations is convening a series of community meetings in Ontario to identify potential opportunities and partnerships in renewable energy, including hydropower.

The Union of Ontario Indians, the First Nations’ political advocate, will conduct the meetings, planned for Jan. 26 at Thunder Bay, Jan. 28 at Garden River First Nation, Feb. 4 at Alderville First Nation, Feb. 6 at Aundeck Omni Kaning First Nation, and Feb. 11 at Aamjiwnaang First Nation.

The Union of Ontario Indians said opportunities and potential for development partnerships with First Nations include: locations for alternative, small hydro, and other non-invasive hydropower projects; areas along the Great Lakes for wind development; and land for biomass generation projects. First Nations also hold rights to territories across Ontario that would be available for new energy infrastructure projects, including a North-South transmission corridor that must pass through the Anishinabek Nation’s territory.

As part of its Integrated Power System Plan, Ontario Power Authority is undertaking enhanced consultation with First Nations to examine opportunities and partnerships in renewable power generation and transmission. Energy and Infrastructure Minister George Smitherman directed the provincial utility to report back within six months. (HNN 9/26/08)

However, the Anishinabek Nation asserted its community engagement process is uniquely its own and not tied to the Ontario Power Authority directive.

�We acknowledge the full scope of the opportunities available to us in energy,� Anishinabek Grand Council Chief John Beaucage said. �It is for that reason we opted to consult with our own communities and citizens in this matter and not leave this up to OPA and the government.�

For more information about the community engagement meetings, contact Bob Goulais, Chief of Staff and Executive Assistant to the Grand Council Chief, (1) 705-497-9127; E-mail: goubob@anishinabek.ca.

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