May 22, 2019

Indigenous Community Innovation Bringing Clean Energy to Saskatchewan

Investing in infrastructure that promotes clean energy solutions is key to creating a strong low-carbon economy and sustainable future for Canadians.

Today, Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, on behalf of Francois-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, and Saskatchewan Trade and Export Development Minister and Meadow Lake MLA Jeremy Harrison announced funding for a major green energy project in Meadow Lake.

The First Nations-owned Meadow Lake Tribal Council Bioenergy Centre will generate carbon-neutral green power using sawmill biomass residuals.  It will be the first plant of its kind in Saskatchewan and is expected to produce 6.6 megawatts of baseload electricity to power approximately 5,000 homes with greener energy.

The project is expected to decrease greenhouse gas emissions by more than one million tonnes over 25 years, and reduce smoke and other harmful matter to significantly improve air quality for residents.

Revenues from the plant will also support essential programs and services including child and family services, education, and health and youth development for the nine-member First Nations comprising the Meadow Lake Tribal Council.

The Government of Canada is contributing $52.5 million to this project through the Green Infrastructure Stream of the Canada-Saskatchewan Integrated Bilateral Agreement under the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program.

“Transitioning to cleaner power is essential to protecting the environment, creating more sustainable communities and building a clean future for our kids and grandkids,” said Bennett.  “This important Indigenous–owned project will create good middle-class jobs, boost regional economic growth and serve as a model for communities across Saskatchewan looking to transition to renewable energy and promote a greener way of life for all Canadians.”

“The Meadow Lake Bioenergy Project is a first of its kind biomass green energy project for Saskatchewan, and today’s announcement is an exciting step in making this new bioenergy power plant a reality,” Harrison said.  “Congratulations to Meadow Lake Tribal Council and MLTC Resource Development on being one step closer to green energy production that will support improved economic outcomes for their member nations, the community of Meadow Lake and our region.”

“Through this kind of affirmative action, Canada and Saskatchewan demonstrate their commitment to ensuring ongoing and sustained participation of Indigenous communities in green energy infrastructure development, climate change mitigation, improving environmental outcomes and supporting our local forestry-based economy in the Meadow Lake area,” Meadow Lake Tribal Council Tribal Chief Richard Ben said.   “Investment such as this makes good sense as it enables MLTC and the Meadow Lake First Nations to create ongoing economic opportunity and hope for our people.”

“The City of Meadow Lake applauds this federal funding announcement today for the MLTC Bioenergy Centre,” Meadow Lake Mayor Gary Vidal said.  “The Meadow Lake Tribal Council has a significant role in the local economy of Meadow Lake.  This project will serve to strengthen MLTC’s continuing growth and its ongoing support of economic development in the area.”

Quick facts:

  • Through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Plan, the Government of Canada is investing more than $180 billion over 12 years in public transit projects, green infrastructure, social infrastructure, trade and transportation routes, and Canada’s rural and northern communities.
  • $26.9 billion of this funding is supporting green infrastructure projects, including $5 billion available for investment through the Canada Infrastructure Bank.
  • The Government of Canada is contributing up to $52.5 million to this project through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Plan.  A further $250,000 is being provided by the Indigenous Services Canada and Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs’ Community Opportunities Readiness Program.
  • The nine-member First Nations comprising the Meadow Lake Tribal Council (MLTC) are Birch Narrows Dene Nation, Buffalo River Dene Nation, Canoe Lake Cree Nation, Clearwater River Dene Nation, English River First Nation, Flying Dust First Nation, Makwa Sahgaiehcan First Nation, Ministikwan Lake Cree Nation, and Waterhen Lake First Nation.

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