Natural Resouces Canada announced a $35-million investment to Whitesand First Nation owned Sagatay Co-Generation Limited Partnership to deploy a combined heat and power facility using locally sourced wood waste to produce energy for the communities.

“In collaboration with the Whitesand First Nation, the Government of Canada is investing in an important local energy solution that will cut emissions from diesel fuel and provide good jobs in northern Ontario. This $35-million federal investment is helping to power low-carbon solutions in the region while supporting Indigenous leadership. I would like to congratulate the Sagatay Co-Generation Limited Partnership and all of those involved in enabling this important initiative,” said Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Natural Resources.

Once constructed, the facility will reduce the use of diesel fuel for heat and electricity in Whitesand First Nation, and the communities of Armstrong and Collins, Ontario.

“Protecting our climate is the challenge of our lifetime and we need all hands on deck. I am proud of the vision and determination of Sagatay Co-Generation LP to stay focused on completing this project which will reduce the use of diesel fuel for heat and energy. The project will benefit Whitesand First Nation who are the owners of Sagatay Co-Generation LP, and help the entire region. This is economic reconciliation in action. Congratulations to everyone involved,” said Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services and MP for Thunder Bay – Superior North.

Once operational, the 6.5-megawatt facility will connect to the local micro-grid and provide power for the three communities, displacing diesel consumption and improving local air quality. The facility will power clean and renewable industrial growth in the region as the electricity generated will also provide heat and power to a new wood pellet plant and a fully electric wood merchandising yard, which supports good jobs.

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“On behalf of Whitesand First Nation, I would like to personally thank Minister Wilkinson for Canada’s continued support for our Bio-Economy Centre project. Whitesand’s vision of energy independence and economic growth began in 1992 when we proposed a biomass cogeneration facility. Although that proposal was not accepted, and despite the many barriers we have faced through the years, we did not give up and today our vision of a sustainable future through the use of our local forest is at hand,” said Chief Allan Gustafson, Whitesand First Nation.

This project will help the three communities reduce their reliance on fossil fuels, decrease emissions and demonstrate the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of biomass heat and power. This project also enables increased local Indigenous economic development and employment by providing an opportunity to participate in the local bioeconomy by using renewable sources of heat.

“I would like to thank Minister Wilkinson and Canada for standing with Whitesand First Nation and supporting a transformative green energy project. The Bio-Economy Centre is confirmation of how Canada’s low-carbon programs and support can lead to substantial economic growth, employment, GHG reduction and forestry expansion. This project empowers an Indigenous community to enter Canada’s and Ontario’s economy while demonstrating how carbon reduction can lead to poverty reduction in similar communities across Canada,” said David L. Mackett, Sagatay Co-Generation Limited Partnership.

Featured image: Photo by Alexander Schimmeck on Unsplash

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