MEADOW LAKE, SASKATCHEWAN (August 1, 2012) - The Honourable John Duncan, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development; Eric Sylvestre, Tribal Chief of the Meadow Lake Tribal Council; Robert Watson, President and Chief Executive Officer of SaskPower; and Ben Voss, President and CEO of Meadow Lake Tribal Council Resource Development Inc. (MLTC RDI), announced today an investment in an environmentally sustainable biomass power project in Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan.
The largest project ever undertaken by the Meadow Lake Tribal Council, the Meadow Lake Bioenergy Centre will run on bark, branches, sawdust and wood chips from the NorSask Forest Products sawmill. It will generate up to 36 megawatts of renewable low-emissions power, which is enough to power roughly 30,000 homes.
MLTC RDI has recently signed a 25-year power purchase agreement with SaskPower, the primary supplier of electricity in Saskatchewan, a first of this size for a First Nation corporation in the province.
“This investment is one way that the Harper Government is delivering on its commitment to create conditions to accelerate economic development opportunities for First Nations and maximize benefits for all Canadians,” said Minister Duncan. “This project is expected to create 300 jobs over its two-year construction period and 25 permanent jobs to operate the new plant.”
The Government’s contribution of $499,000 will enable MLTC RDI to complete the necessary pre-development work for the project, including obtaining the necessary agreements, contracts, project designs and environmental assessment reports. MLTC RDI is investing $376,000 toward this important stage of the project.
“It is with great enthusiasm that we announce today an important milestone in the development of the Meadow Lake Bioenergy Centre,” said Chief Sylvestre. “This project is the culmination of our investment in, and a commitment to, MLTC’s growth that will generate many economic opportunities for our First Nations. We want to thank the Government of Canada and SaskPower for their commitment and contributions to our project.”
“Supporting the development of renewable electricity technologies, like biomass, is part of our sustainable plan to power the province,” said Mr. Watson. “This project will help us meet Saskatchewan’s growing need for power, and open the door for the First Nations to benefit from resulting economic development opportunities.”
“Renewable energy is not only a great economic opportunity, but a sustainable business venture for decades ahead,” said Mr. Voss. “Through the strong relationship with SaskPower, as well as the support of the Government of Canada, this project is now able to move forward as the largest business venture we have ever undertaken.”
Office of the Honourable John Duncan
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
Media Relations, Regina
Ben Voss, P. Eng
President & CEO