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Ontario's First 100% First Nations Project Opens on Manitoulin Island
Grant Taibossigai and Chief Joe Hare talk about the MERE wind project
Congratulations to the community of M'Chigeeng First Nation on bringing their 4MW Mother Earth Renewable Energy (MERE) wind project into commercial operation this past June 15th! At long last, the M'Chigeeng community can begin to reap the rewards of its sustainable vision, financial investment, hard work, determination and perseverance.
To celebrate the commissioning of the MERE Wind project the community held a full day grand opening ceremony on June 15th with high profile guests including Regional Chief Angus Toulouse (Chiefs of Ontario), Minister Chris Bentley (Ministry of Energy, Ontario), Kristopher Stevens (Ontario Sustainable Energy Association) and keynote speaker Dr. David Suzuki. The project is Ontario's first wind farm 100% owned by a First Nation and is located on M'Chigeeng First Nation lands.
The 4MW community-owned project overlooking West Bay on the beautiful Manitoulin Island is the development of the MERE corporation, a company fully owned by the M'Chigeeng First Nation.
A traditional sunrise ceremony was held to open the day, followed by a "Turn on the Switch" activity on the bluff site overlooking West Bay and a feast with presentations at the community arena. Chief Joe Hare, Dr. David Suzuki, community leaders, government officials and community energy experts offered words of congratulations and praise to the close to 500 attendees.
The project is one of 16 important new renewable energy projects currently being built by Ontario First Nations communities made possible by Ontario's Green Energy and Economy Act, a policy which includes an Aboriginal Loan Guarantee program and other tools to assist First Nations and Metis who want to develop or partner on renewable energy projects. The MERE wind project grand opening is an important step for M'Chigeeng First Nation and an exciting example of sustainable economic opportunity for Aboriginal communities in Canada and around the world.
Real community benefit through hard work and community investment
The M'Chigeeng Mother Earth Renewable Energy (MERE) project uses two 2MW Enercon turbines which are expected to generate $300,000 a year net for the first 14 years while loans are being repaid and $1.2 million a year for the remaining 6 years. The community tapped into their own financial resources, utilized the provinces Aboriginal Loan guarantee program and other enabling mechanisms, invested significant sweat equity and worked closely with its suppliers, services providers, the government and the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association to make the project happen.
No subsidies, just a fair price for power
The M'Chigeeng Mother Earth Renewable Energy (MERE) project's windmills do not receive any subsidies and only receive payment for power produced under the Feed-in tariff program based on a fair fixed long-term contract. The price paid is based on a cost plus a reasonable return on investment model that is fixed for contracted projects and reviewed every two years for new projects. Feed-in tariffs allow broader participation and create long-term predictability and stability for manufacturers, the finance sector and those seeking to develop projects.
Wind is a cheaper option
Recent cost comparisons of new electricity generation on a per kilowatt hour (kwh) basis put wind at 11.5 cents per kwh under Ontario's Feed-in tariff, considerably cheaper than the projected prices for new or refurbished nuclear at 19-37 cents.
Thank you to M'Chigeeng First Nation
We at the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association would like to thank the community of M'Chigeeng for its long term membership, support and for demonstrating true leadership. The staff, board and the rest of the membership look forward to advancing community ownership and sustainable energy together long into the future.
Dr. Suzuki speaks to Nation Talk radio during the celebration
A short interview during the M'Chigeeng MERE wind project celebration regarding renewables and the state of environmental policy in Canada.
Cost comparison of Ontario's electricity options
What is a Feed-in tariff?
Ontario's Feed-in tariff program
Learn more about M'Chigeeng First Nation
Tap into the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association's expertise on community-based projects
Learn more about Enercon windmills
Find out more about the aboriginal loan guarantee program
Find out about support for aboriginal community energy planning and projects
Last Updated: Monday, June 25, 2012 at 2:32:06 PM