By Greg Plain
AAMJIWNAANG FIRST NATION –Bkejwanong Territory, Aamjiwnaang and Northland Power Inc., announced the closing of project financing for the Grand Bend Wind Project, with all of the equity contributed to the project and all debt required for the project now fully committed by the project lenders.
The 100 Megawatt project is located near Grand Bend, Ontario, is a 50/50 partnership between Northland and Giiwedin Noodin FN Energy Corporation, which was created to hold the equity interest of the Aamjiwnaang First Nation and Bkejwanong Territory in the project.
Giiwedin Noodin, in Anishinaabemowin means “North Wind”. This is a fitting title to the company’s name alongside Northland Power. Giiwedin Noodin is a partnership between Aamjiwnaang First Nation and Bkejwanong Territory (Walpole Island First Nation).
They are a single purpose entity – to manage the affairs of the First Nations side of the Grand Bend Wind Farm. Giiwedin Noodin is equal partners with Northland Power and as partners desire a great project that generates clean energy and opportunity.
“We are very pleased to have completed this critical part of the process,” said Chief Chris Plain of Aamjiwnaang First Nation. “The Grand Bend project will allow us to utilize our traditional territories in a way that is in alignment with our values and philosophy, by contributing to a more sustainable future for our community and the province as a whole.”
Chief Daniel Miskokomon of Bkejwanong Territory agreed.
“This accomplishment reflects the successful collaboration of our respective teams,” said Chief Miskokomon. “Together, we can deliver a high quality project that will provide ongoing benefits, enabling our collective success and growth, both today and for generations to come.”
The Independent Electricity System Operator (formerly the Ontario Power Authority) awarded the Grand Bend project a 20 year contract under Ontario’s Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) program for renewable energy. The project will use 40 Siemens turbines. Construction on the project is underway, with commercial operation expected in the first half of 2016.
Solar Partnership between Structural Tech Corporation (Aamjiwnaang) and Ameresco Canada
Within Aamjiwnaang’s group of companies the Chippewa Industrial Development Limited owns and operates a manufacturing facility (STC) in Solar and Racking they too have been very busy within the Solar business with partnership and manufacturing of Solar racking for the industry.
Ameresco, Inc., a leading energy efficiency and renewable energy company, announced today that its wholly owned subsidiary, Ameresco Canada Inc., agreed to a new 20-year solar-energy partnership with Structural Tech Corporation (Aamjiwnaang First Nation) to place solar units on various London District Catholic School Board schools (LDCSB). The project is designed to help generate revenue for the board and the partnership.
Wilson Plain Sr., a Director with of Structural Tech Corporation said, “We are very happy to be involved in Green Energy initiatives across Ontario, as we need to protect our precious planet by reducing our carbon footprint.”
Ameresco will install 1.025 megawatts (MW) in rooftop photovoltaic (PV) panels at 13 schools in an effort to enhance the board’s and the community’s commitment to use green energy technology. The installation of these panels is expected to begin in the Spring of 2015, and to be completed by early 2016. An annual lease payment will be made to LDCSB for 20 years.
The Ontario Ministry of Energy’s 2009 Green Energy Act grants the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), formerly OPA, the ability to implement green and renewable energy technologies through the Feed-In Tariff (FIT) Program. Green technologies that fall under the FIT umbrella include solar, wind power, water power, biomass, biogas and landfill gas.
The IESO approved the LDCSB’s bid to participate in FIT 3 because it had support from The Aamjiwnaang owned group of companies, a credible solar-energy partner, and a 51% partnership with an Anishinaabe community, all of which were key factors in their bid. More than 80% of complete and eligible applications through FIT include Aboriginal, community, municipal or public-sector participation, or projects with municipal or public-sector hosts or support.
At Aamjiwnaang First Nation the larger Wind Projects are worked on at the Bands Economic Development, and because the Chippewa Industrial Development Park owns a Manufacturing company they are better suited to follow up and create opportunities in the Solar industry. The Green Energy industry is a great way to make capital for the Nation and keep with an industry that Aamjiwnaang feels will bring capital to the nation for years to come.