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Enbridge, Indigenous groups to develop 200 MW Saskatchewan wind farm

Operations at the Seven Stars Energy Project expected to begin 2027, power over 100,000 homes

Enbridge Inc. and a First Nations and Metis consortium will develop a 200-megawatt wind farm southeast of Weyburn, Sask. that represents Enbridge's first such wind energy partnership.

Named the Seven Stars Energy Project, it will produce enough energy to power over 100,000 Saskatchewan homes, an Enbridge release states. Operations are expected to start in 2027, and Enbridge plans to secure a long-term power purchase agreement with Crown utility SaskPower in 2025 to support final investment decisions.

In a conference call, Matthew Akman, Enbridge's executive vice-president of corporate strategy and president of power, said the project will cost hundreds of millions of dollars. A loan guarantee of up to $100 million from the Saskatchewan Indigenous Investment Finance Corporation will be provided to support the wind farm.

Development, construction and operation of the Seven Stars Energy Project will be undertaken by a wholly-owned, indirect subsidiary of Enbridge. Several environmental studies have been undertaken, but the project is not fully permitted yet, Akman added.

The consortium, named the Six Nations Energy Development LP, is made up of the Cowessess First Nation, George Gordon First Nation, Kahkewistahaw First Nation, Métis Nation-Saskatchewan, Pasqua First Nation and White Bear First Nations. The partners will be able to acquire equity ownership of at least 30 per cent of the project.

"This is a game-changer for the Indigenous Nations, Métis and First Nations," Chief Matthew Peigan of Pasqua First Nation said in the announcement. "This project will produce emissions-free electricity for Saskatchewan and provide a stable source of revenue that will benefit our people for many years to come."

Enbridge’s renewable energy investments

Enbridge, a Calgary-headquartered oil and gas pipeline company, has made investments into renewable energy as part of its 2050 net-zero target and goal of cutting the greenhouse gas emissions intensity of its operations by 35 per cent by 2030.

As of the end of 2023, Enbridge held investments in 23 wind farms around the world, totalling a gross capacity of 4.87 gigawatts, and 2.1 gigawatts of net generation capacity from its wind power investments.

It also holds 369-megawatts of gross capacity across 14 solar farms, a geothermal project with 22 megawatts of gross capacity and five waste heat recovery facilities with a gross capacity of 34 megawatts.

A map of infrastructure on Enbridge’s website shows the company has an ownership stake in nine wind assets in Canada – three each in Ontario, Quebec and Alberta.

As for SaskPower, the Seven Stars Energy Project will contribute to its goal of deploying up to 3,000 megawatts of wind and solar generation by 2035, Dustin Duncan, the minister responsible for the province’s Crown corporations, said in the release.

Akman said the company’s renewables business is in “rapid growth mode” and Enbridge continues to look for investment opportunities, including Indigenous partnerships in Canada.

Indigenous partnerships critical to Canada's clean energy projects

The key role of Six Nations Energy Development highlights the weight Indigenous Canadians hold in clean energy project development. A report issued by the Public Policy Forum found accelerating the green electrification of Canada will require engaging with Indigenous Canadians because many projects will be built and developed on their territories.

Examples include the 125-megawatt Oxford Battery Energy Storage project in Ontario, a 300-megawatt wind project in Quebec that is majority owned by Innu First Nation of Pessamit, and the 4.86-megawatt Salay Prayzaan Solar Farm in Smoky Lake, Alta. that started operations June 21.

Editor's Note: Sustainable Biz Canada updated this article with additional information following a conference call with Enbridge executives.

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