This is first such partnership for OPG and paves the way forward for a new way of doing business according to OPG Chairman Jake Epp. ‘[We’ve] made history. OPG will use this approach to develop similar projects with other First Nations and we’ve created a new way of growing our business. We’re moving towards a future where development of clean, renewable hydroelectric projects proceeds in way that is fair to all parties and is based on trust and respect,’ he said.

‘This is a proud time for my people, and myself,’ added Chief Clifford Bull of the Lac Seul First Nation. ‘It marks the end of an era when our rights and our history were ignored and launches an era where we’re treated as equals.’

George Smitherman, Deputy Premier and Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, agreed that the partnership is a significant step forward to ensuring Ontario’s First Nations can fully participate in responsibly developing the province’s shared resources. ‘In addition to providing clean, green power for our province, this new generating station will benefit the Lac Seul First Nation through revenues that will help to enhance the future sustainability of their community,’ Smitherman noted. ‘I look forward to a future where First Nations partnerships with energy generators are considered the norm and not historic.’

The partnership stemmed from a past grievance settlement reached in 2006. The settlement addressed the impact of hydroelectric facilities that were built on traditional lands of the Lac Seul First Nation on the English River system between 1930 and 1948.

The equity partnership will see the Lac Seul First Nation purchase a 25% share of the 12.5MW station, which will be in service early this year.

The station will generate enough electricity to meet the annual needs of 5000 homes. All future profits and risks will be shared by OPG and the First Nation.

The new station, adjacent to the Ear Falls Generating Station, will have dual names, also being known by the Ojibway name Obishikokaang Waasiganikewigamig, which translates as White Pine Narrows electricity generating building.