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‘Landmark’ wind farm in works for Henvey Inlet

An international energy company has secured $1 billion in financing to build the largest wind project in Ontario on a reserve south of Sudbury.

Pattern Development revealed plans Tuesday to construct a 300-megawatt wind project located on Henvey Inlet First Nation Reserve No. 2 on the northeast shore of the Georgian Bay.

Pattern Development and Nigig Power Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Henvey Inlet First Nation, are joint venture partners in the project.

“This landmark project is a first on many fronts: largest wind project in Ontario, largest on-reserve wind installation in Canada, highest hub heights in North America, and the first to develop a First Nation Environmental Stewardship Regime under the First Nations Lands Management Act,” Mike Garland, CEO of Pattern Development, said in a release.

“We are proud to be partners with Henvey Inlet First Nation. Together we’re excited to kick off construction on this historic project that will harness the strong and steady winds blowing across the Georgian Bay to create hundreds of local jobs and provide a significant new source of revenue for Henvey Inlet First Nation.”

Henvey Inlet is an Anishinabek community comprised of three separate reserve properties. Henvey Inlet Reserve No. 2 is on the northeast shore of the Georgian Bay, 90 km south of Sudbury and 71 km north of Parry Sound. French River Reserve No. 13 is 11 km north of the Reserve No. 2 and includes Cantin Island. There are about 900 enrolled members of the Robinson-Huron Treaty band, with about 200 of those residing on-reserve

“This will be the first wind power project on First Nation land, representing an economic turning point in which we are creating a prosperous future,” said Chief Wayne McQuabbie of Henvey Inlet First Nation. “This project’s watershed permitting and real estate regime sets an example for responsible economic development that protects and preserves First Nation land while also generating revenue for future generations. The project also benefits Magnetawan and Shawanaga First Nations with income and employment opportunities.”

Magnetawan and Shawanaga are located near Henvey Inlet.

Nigig Power Corporation is wholly owned by Henvey Inlet First Nation. Nigig was mandated in 2010 to develop the Henvey Inlet Wind project, intended to provide economic benefits for community and the surrounding area. The net proceeds will be managed by a community trust that will conduct extensive consultation to determine the use of funds through a membership referendum.

“We aren’t just building a wind farm, we’re building an economy,” said Ken Noble, president and CEO of Nigig. “The net proceeds over the next two decades of operations will provide the financial resources to transform the local economy, expand all community services, relieve poverty, and create employment.”

Henvey Inlet Wind will use 87 Vestas 3.45 MW turbines with a 136-metre rotor diameter and 132-metre hub height. The project has a 20-year power purchase agreement with the Independent Electricity System Operator for 100 per cent of its production.

The project will create up to 500 jobs during construction. Once operational, the project will employ about 15 permanent full-time workers and also create more than 100 ongoing indirect jobs.

Once operational in the first half of 2019, Henvey Inlet Wind will generate clean power for approximately 100,000 Ontario homes each year. It is expected to generate lease royalties of more than $8 million annually for the Henvey Inlet First Nation, in addition to significant income from project distributions.

Henvey Inlet Wind is being jointly developed and will continue to be jointly owned and operated by Pattern Development and Henvey Inlet First Nation.

Pattern Development owns a 50 per cent interest in the project, and Nigig Power Corporation owns the other half.