The Quebec government and local Innu communities are moving forward with a historic partnership that will enable the large-scale Apuiat wind farm project to become a reality.
“After many months of work with our Indigenous partners, I am proud to present a win-win project for the Innu communities, for Québec and for the planet,” said Premier of Quebec, François Legault. “This is excellent news for the entire wind energy sector, in which costs have come down considerably. This means savings for all Quebecers, and substantial royalties will be paid to the local communities. With the Apuiat wind farm, we are continuing to build a greener Québec, a more prosperous Québec, a prouder Québec.”
The $600 million project fits with the provincial government’s vision for economic recovery, by focusing on the energy transition with a view to reducing greenhouse gases (GHGs). Also, the new version of the project provides for a 17 per cent reduction in the electricity price, in comparison to that presented in 2018.
The agreement concluded provides for the signing of a 30-year contract to purchase the electricity that will be produced by the Apuiat wind farm. The contract between Hydro-Québec Production and Parc éolien Apuiat S.E.C., a company jointly held by the Innu communities and Boralex, provides for the electricity to be bought at a cost of a competitive cost of about 6¢/kWh.
“I am very pleased with this announcement – as Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, of course, but also as Minister Responsible for the Côte-Nord Region,” said Jonatan Julien, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources and Minister Responsible for the Côte-Nord Region. “With our Green Economy Plan and our hydroelectricity export projects, Apuiat takes on its full significance. This project is complementary to our hydroelectricity production, and provides us with a clean energy source to power our ambitions and to provide significant spinoffs for the local communities.”
The word “Apuiat” in Innu Aimun, means a paddle, a symbol of moving forward together in the same direction. The wind farm, of approximately 200 MW, will be built on the traditional territory (Nitassinan) of the Uashat mak Mani-utenam First Nation and on public lands in the City of Port-Cartier in the Côte-Nord Region.
“Apuiat is more than just a wind farm. It involves 30 years of revenues for our communities, and a breeze of fresh air for the economy of the Côte-Nord Region,” said Martin Dufour, Chief of the Innu Essipit Band Council. “This is also an opportunity for each of our communities to invest autonomously in its own priorities. The Innu have the potential and the willingness to participate in Québec’s economic development, and we have much to offer. Although Apuiat is our first national project, it will certainly not be the last.”
The Innu communities and Boralex are 50-50 partners in the project. The partners will equally share the profits generated by the sale of electricity throughout the life of the project.