The Ontario, Canada government recently announced it would invest a total of $980,000 CAD to help with the development of the Mother Earth Renewable Energy (MERE) Wind Farm Project. $500,000 will come from the Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development and the remainder will be supplied by FedNor. The M’Chigeeng First Nation will contribute over $3 million to the project.
The MERE project will contain two turbines and generate a total of 4,000 kW of clean energy at full capacity, and produce a total of 10 gWh energy annually. The project will span 100 acres and will feature two Enercon E-82 turbine units. First Nation will sell all power to Ontario Power Generation through a 20-year Feed-in Tariff. The project will begin September 2011 and is slated for completion in November 2011.
The installation of these turbines will create jobs for First Nation members and generate business opportunities during construction and actual operation of the turbines. Upon completion, the M’Chigeeng will be among the first Aboriginal groups in Ontario to embrace green energy, with Fort Williams First Nation implementing a solar park earlier this year. Chief Joseph Hare sees the potential of the project and stated that “tThis project brings us one step closer to becoming a leader in sustainable development in the renewable energy sector, and generating additional income for the community.”
The development of this project will not only bring in new jobs, but also teach skills in renewable energy technology and environmental protection. Funding for this initiative was made available through Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada’s Community Economic Opportunities Program and Major Resource and Energy Development Initiative, as well as FedNor’s Northern Ontario Development Program.