Bow Lake Wind Farm project finalized with Batchewana (updated) Thursday, January 17, 2013 by: Darren Taylor
An historic agreement was finalized today.
Batchewana First Nation Chief Dean Sayers and Project Development Vice-President Geoff Carnegie (shown) of Calgary-based BluEarth Renewables Inc. celebrated their business partnership before construction starts on the Bow Lake Wind Farm, which marks the largest partnership ever between a First Nation and a wind energy developer in Canada.
At a meeting held at the Batchewana Elders Complex Thursday afternoon, a clearly delighted Chief Dean Sayers stated “this is probably the best news that Batchewena has ever had in our existence. The enormity of this is incredible, it is going to help us to grow so much as a people.”
The 36 wind turbine farm, to be constructed in two phases and located 80 kilometres north of Sault Ste. Marie, will provide 80 construction jobs and ongoing maintenance jobs for Batchewana First Nation citizens.
Sayers said revenue generated from the wind farm, once operational, will go towards Batchewana First Nations housing, infrastructure, health care and cultural programs.
The wind farm has a $240 million price tag, said Aboriginal Business Network President Wayne Greer of Kitchener, Ontario.
$8 million of that comes from Batchewana’s own funds, Greer said.
Annual revenue for Batchewana, generated by power sold to the provincial power grid once the wind farm is operational, is estimated at $2 million.
“The money will start rolling in as soon as we’re plugged in to the provincial grid,” Sayers said.
Sayers stated “there are so many financial shortfalls in our relationship with the Crown, and with Canada, but this project will help us meet our basic needs in infrastructure, housing, health care, education, redevelopment of our political systems…this will help us in our governance issues.”
Carnegie stated that the finalized, formal project approval request will be forwarded to the Ontario Ministry of the Environment (MOE) soon, with a view to begin construction of the wind farm in August or September.
Carnegie told SooToday.com that the first phase of the project would see the erection of 12 wind turbines, operational by June 2014, to be followed by construction of phase Two’s 24 turbines, in operation by October 2014.
According to data provided to SooToday.com by BluEarth, based on an average Ontario household electricity consumption of 1,000 kWh per month, the output of the Bow Lake Wind Farm would power the equivalent of approximately 13,000 average Ontario homes.
The project has been in the works since 2007.
Since then, Carnegie said, there have been numerous public input meetings and environmental studies carried out.
“We’re honoured and proud to be working with Batchewana” Carnegie said Thursday.
Chief Sayers credited Batchewana for having a vision to move forward in the venture with BluEarth.
“We have an educated leadership, we met continually, educating ourselves on the business aspects of the partnership, understanding corporations and regulatory processes, keeping our people and our leadership focussed and on track, and always being available to answer questions. Communication played the biggest role for us.”
Despite several public input sessions, the Save Our Algoma Region (SOAR) group remains opposed to the Bow Lake Wind Farm, calling for the area to be affected by it to be designated a heritage site.
Greer said “we invited SOAR in at open houses, and there was very open and very nice dialogue between us.”
Chief Sayers stated, “the door is not locked to SOAR. There may be a need to tweak this agreement, with people who have some varying perspectives on the project.”
The full text of a news release from Batchewana First Nation follows
Bow Lake Wind Farm partnership finalized
SAULT STE. MARIE - Batchewana First Nation and BluEarth Renewables Inc. (BluEarth) are thrilled to announce their partnership in the Bow Lake Wind Farm.
At the present time, this relationship represents the largest economic partnership between a First Nation and a wind energy developer in Canada.
Project discussions began in June 2007 with the original project developers and the Batchewana First Nation.
BluEarth, an Alberta based renewable energy developer, acquired the Bow Lake Wind Farm in 2011, and since that time has continued to work closely with the Batchewana First Nation to negotiate this partnership.
The partnership agreements became effective on December 21 2012.
Chief Dean Sayers commented: “This partnership demonstrates that opportunities exist for positive collaboration between industry and First Nation. Our project partners have demonstrated their commitment to BFN as a government. This mutual respect is the cornerstone of our relationship moving forward. Our First Nation is pleased with the validation of our sovereignty and our right to negotiate the use of our natural resources.”
Kent Brown, CEO of BluEarth, noted: “We are very pleased with the commercialization of the partnership, respecting the rights and culture of the First Nation. We have worked hard together to reach this milestone event and look forward to a long-term relationship with the Batchewana First Nation.”
As a result of this partnership, going forward the project proponents will be Nodin Kitagan Limited Partnership (for Phase 1) and Nodin Kitagan 2 Limited Partnership (for Phase 2).
The Project will continue to be known as the Bow Lake Wind Farm, however the Batchewana First Nation know and refer to the Project as Chinodin Chigumi Nodin Kitagan.
This project will contribute towards the achievement of the Ontario Government’s target of over 10,000 MW of non-hydro renewable energy by 2018.
Reducing reliance on non-sustainable energy resources, such as coal, and taking advantage of low-impact sustainable resources like the wind, are important objectives for the Batchewana First Nation today, and for future generations.
About the Project
The Bow Lake Wind Project is located approximately 80 km north of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.
The site is situated in the district of Algoma, and within the original reserve of the Batchewana First Nation.
The Project will have a nameplate capacity of 58.32 MW of clean renewable electricity using a total of 36 wind turbines.
Each turbine will have the capacity to produce up to 1.62 MW of electricity.
It is anticipated that the Renewable Energy Approval will be filed and construction will subsequently begin on the Project 2013, with the project generating renewable power by late 2014.
The electricity generated by the Project will be sold to the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) under 20-year contracts which were awarded to the Project through the Ontario Feed-in-Tariff program.
About Batchewana First Nation
A self-supporting, self-reliant, sovereign First Nation where individuals share a strong cultural identity based on a deep understanding of who we are on a clear sense of continuity with our cultural roots.
Where the Reserve communities have truly come together and whose members have a strong sense of self-esteem, respect for each other and who work together for the betterment of all.
Rankin Reserve (15D) is the main location with Garden River Reserve on its East Boundary and the City of Sault Ste Marie bordering its west boundary.
It is approximately 1620 ha (4,000 acres).
Obadjiwan Reserve (15E) is made up of Batchewana Village Area and the Batchawana Trust Lands and is located on the westerly shores of Batchawana Bay on Lake Superior.
It is approximately 20 kilometres North of Goulais Bay Reserve and 85 kilometres from the City of Sault Ste Marie.
Goulais Bay Reserve (15A) is located on the shores of Lake Superior on the westerly shore of Goulais Bay, near Goulais Point and covers approximately 645 ha (1595 acres).
White Fish Island Reserve 15 has been used by the native population since 1621.
About BluEarth Renewables Inc.
Headquartered in Calgary, Canada, we are a private company focused on commercial scale renewable energy development.
Our goal is to sustainably build, own, and operate wind, run-of-river hydroelectric, and solar generation projects across Canada.
With strong financial backing from investors like ARC Financial and the Ontario Teacher's Pension Plan, BluEarth's combination of experience and access to capital is allowing us to continue to build great momentum that we will leverage to propel us forward to be the Canadian renewable energy leader.
rcamp211 1/17/2013 9:20:32 PM Report
"$8 million of that comes from Batchewana’s own funds"??
TankGirl 1/17/2013 9:40:45 PM Report
Ok. Let me pre empt the mass of comments by saying this. The bulk of those against Idle No More and such related articles have used "Chief Louis" story as an example of what all First Nations should be working towards. He took his reservation from bankrupt IA ownership to independence and self sustainment in little over 5 years. I encourage you all to look at how. Some environmental impacts were made in the process much like what Batchewana is doing today.
So, they are doing what you all have encouraged. Remember that before you shit on this news story.
KRF91 1/17/2013 9:57:27 PM Report
I think this is awesome personally. Not sure why anybody would have anything negative to say about this.
fatafr 1/17/2013 11:08:46 PM Report
This certainly great news !! Anytime there is development in our area, that is wonderful news. It sure would be nice if we could see the by-pass east finally being completed . It comes to a dead end at 2nd Line and Black Rd. It would be nice if Batchewana First Nation Chief Dean Sayers would finally consider sitting down and helping to bring this by-pass to a conclusion. The City of Sault Ste. Marie has been very cooperative with our First Nations neighbours, supporting their projects, and it would be nice if they reciprocated. We all would benefit when there is neighbourly cooperation.
T-pot 1/18/2013 12:14:08 AM Report
Bill C-45 ain't that bad now? I mean with Bow Lake being unprotected now, you can do stuff like throw a few dozen wind turbines around it. What ever happened to our land isn't for sale for government profit?
Boomer4771 1/18/2013 6:54:58 AM Report
The sad part is that Natives are suppose to be protectors of earth and water. Does no one see the destruction these wind turbines cause. The amount of wasted land. destruction of habitat.All I see again is money hungry people wanting more and more. What a joke. Thanks for allowing these energy companies to ruin my recreation areas.
rcamp211 1/18/2013 7:11:32 AM Report
good for batchewana reserve to invest in there kids future look at garden river reserve all they have done in 30+ years is have bingos and sell cheap cigarettes.
OMGWTF 1/18/2013 7:32:52 AM Report
I'm glad they are moving towards self sustainability so government funds can be reduced.
MikeQ 1/18/2013 10:35:58 AM Report
This is how you do it. Not by standing in the middle of highways, but by proactively looking for ways to take advantage of the resources around you to sustain you.
This is a refreshing change of news. I bet the bill that's being protested would've helped them get this project done even quicker (since that's why it was created...surprise surprise). Well done Batchewana!
MikeQ 1/18/2013 10:44:56 AM Report
One question would be... if the revenue is 2mill a year, and the price tag is 240mill. And then you factor the cost of maintenance/replacement...is the reserve looking at a 150 year investment?
kottage Keeper 1/18/2013 10:45:28 AM Report
I believe the Natives have all the rights to owner ship of the wind and the Sun.I hope the dividends are pouring in from the solar panels around town and the GLP windfarm. The more revenue collected from industry should be subtracted from government funds. This would allow all CANADIAN's to pay down our defasite. Yes we are all Canadians and all Canadians have a responsibility to pay there fare share if they wish to have all the great spine offs that come from tax dollars. Yes the millions that are given to the reservations accross Canada comes from the hard working Canadian's . All that is asked is that the people are taken care off without greed.Bill C45 will accommidate these request so as tax paying Canadians know where there hard earn monies go to. It is clear that the local Cheif's concern is not the preservation of the lands at all. I would suggest a consultation with the residence of RED ROCK may enlighten his greed dession.Not the greatest timing for the Local cheif.
MikeQ 1/18/2013 10:47:39 AM Report
Oh wait... Now I'm thinking the farm doesn't have a 2mill revenue per annum, but 2mill of the total profit will go back to reserve, due to their 8mill investment.
Does that sound right to anyone? How much do these wind farms make per annum total?
Slim Shady 1/18/2013 11:10:22 AM Report
I think you are correct. Batchewana would get a yearly return of $2M/yr on their initial $8M investment. A payback of 4 yrs or so is a good rate of return, plus local FN maintenance jobs...
I would imagine that Blue Energy is responsible for the amortization of maintenance costs. The $2M/yr is basically a royality for placing the towers on the reserve and will last for as long as the towers are in operation. They also probably have provisions for inflation in the contract. $2M/yr would not be the same value 20 years from now.
Slim Shady 1/18/2013 11:16:00 AM Report
Now this is what alot of people who were against the protesting/blockades were talking about:
This is an example of FN people investing and becoming self sufficient. This is what everyone (all Canadians) should be doing. This is the 21st century not the 17th century.
I agree with the previous blogger... All the FN people who condemned Bill C-45.... This is what the bill helps you accomplish? Why would you be against it?!
BTW this is a good thing not only for FN people but for all of us Northern Canadians. Good Job.
I also agree on the comment of the HWY 17 extension to Black Road. Batchewana FN should work with the government to complete this. It provides access for industry to your reserve for such endeavors.
MikeQ 1/18/2013 11:17:59 AM Report
@ Slim Shady
So any ideas then on how long it would take to pay off the government's portion of the 240mill? Or is that a debt-free grant? 4 years is a good time frame to be fully vested for the reserve, but how long of a period will the government have to wait before their investment is returned?
Just curious I guess...
Slim Shady 1/18/2013 11:29:53 AM Report
This is just some rough figures... Each wind generator can produce a net income from $600,000 to $900,000 per year of profits, depending on the average, annual production of KILOWATT Hours loaded into the Grid. This is typical of a wind generator site installed in a 3 to 6 class wind zone with each generator being respectively 1.5 MW and 2.2 MW in size.
To calculate the rate of return we would have to take the cost of the development and amortize in over the length of the effective life span of the wind tower. After many years the steel of the tower etc. will become cyclically fatigued from wind loading and vibration stresses. At that point in time the tower would be relaced.
Slim Shady 1/18/2013 11:32:49 AM Report
The design Lifespan of a wind generator/tower would be about 20-25 years for the reasons stated earlier.
sinikka 1/18/2013 11:37:48 AM Report
Chief Dean Sayers commented: “This partnership demonstrates that opportunities exist for positive collaboration between industry and First Nation.
Very well done chief sayers. This same business savy has been used by chiefs out west as well. This is a business relationship that is good for all parties involved. The bill works.
Slim Shady 1/18/2013 11:45:55 AM Report
Annual Maintenance costs per tower would be approx. $225-250K
The 36 Tower development would producea profit of likely $432M in 20 years.
Time to payback would have to include the costs of borrowing the money and inflation.
I'd imagine 5 - 8 years.
LSARC 1/18/2013 12:08:27 PM Report
"The 36 wind turbine farm, to be constructed in two phases and located 80 kilometres north of Sault Ste. Marie, will provide 80 construction jobs and ongoing maintenance jobs for Batchewana First Nation citizens."
Sadly having Prince Wind Farm which employs only 6 people, one of which must be the guy cleaning up dead birds and bats, as an example since 2006, has not been sufficient to illustrate the shortcomings of wind energy to many local residents.
It contributes to the episodes where the Province has to sell surplus energy at a loss, that is we pay millions to get it off the grid.
The Auditor General for Ontario revealed what an economic fiasco the Green Energy Act has been and that it was instituted without proper due diligence, ( http://lsarc.wordpress.com/2011/12/07/auditors-look-at-the-provinces-books-part-1-hardly-a-glancing-blow/ )
The Feed-In-Tarrif is an unsustainable subsidy and it is all that keeps this scam going. In countries like Spain the economy has failed to support it. Look at the European experience which should be an object lesson as grids and economies are destabilized by greed energy. ( http://www.epaw.org/ )
There are none so blind as those who will not see and unfortunately the MSM are deliberately obscuring the truth about wind every time they repeat wind developer spiel like, "the output of the Bow Lake Wind Farm would power the equivalent of approximately 13,000 average Ontario homes." Note the "would" and "approximately" which if you look at the actual performance data from Prince Wind Farm on the IESO website you would understand, and know that the phrase, "when the wind blows" should be added before the period.
Wind does NOT replace anything as it requires constant balancing usually by natural gas in Ontario, the Government could have shut down coal long ago they just chose not to and now they are going to claim wind permitted that and the MSM is going to let them get away with that lie.
Sadly SOAR has done a disservice to the public and First Nations by quibbling about location when variable, non-dispatchable, unreliable, and environmentally destructive( on a HUGE scale ) industrial wind turbines are a bad idea altogether. They are an adjunct which is costly in terms of social,economic and environmental resources.
Wind developers whispering sweet nothings is NOT Mother Earth talking, it is greed speaking in very old tongues. Some First Nations traditionalists recognize purveyors of snake oil. ( http://lsarc.wordpress.com/2013/01/12/idle-on-eagles-cranes-turtles/ )
There is no cause to rejoice when people forget that we do not inherit the land from our parents, we borrow it from our children. None of them may ever see the "sacrifice zone" Bow Lake and the potential in that beauty. ( http://www.bayniche-conservancy.ca/Bow-Lake-and-area.html )
steelworker 1/18/2013 2:17:16 PM Report
Gee; I wonder what happened to most of the comments from last night? Nice to see democracy in action.
TheBeerman 1/21/2013 11:29:28 AM Report
At the risk of being censored...
Guess this means we're going to see the last of sand hill cranes within the next few years...
Eagles made a comeback? Not for long...
Kill all the birds you want, not even natives care. What will your kids see when they look up? Not birds, just big wind turbines.
Thanks for saving us all.
TheBeerman 1/21/2013 11:32:03 AM Report
No birds is okay, but heaven forbid I get to work on time? Thanks INM
TheBeerman 1/21/2013 12:36:13 PM Report
INM is not opposed to raping the land... Long as they get their cut? Now I get it... How does that make it a fight for all Canadians? Talk out both sides of your mouth some more!