An alternative energy source is blowing through Fort Severn and the community is determined to harness it.
Fort Severn is working on a plan for its wind power project.
“We are currently investigating alternative energy for the long-term,” said Chief Matthew Kakekaspan. “Our primary source of energy is burning diesel. It is known as dirty power. We need to find a cleaner source of energy.”
The community recently received a $5,000 grant from Honor the Earth’s Building Resilience in Indigenous Communities Initiative to help move the project along.
Kakekaspan said the money will help with a study to determine where the windmills should go.
“We’re looking at the coastline (of Hudson Bay),” he said. “There is a steady wind there.”
Kakekaspan said the community realizes it can’t burn diesel forever. But a clean energy source could solve another community issue, he said.
“We’re having problems getting firewood,” he said. “Wood stoves are not the most efficient heat source either. Wood stoves are contributing to our mould issues as the heat doesn’t always disperse and heat everywhere.”
But is the community was making its own power through the windmills, electric baseboard heaters could be installed to heat homes or at least serve as a backup heat source, he said.
Energy Minister Brad Duguid is very supportive of such ideas. He would like to see northern First Nations look at renewable energy sources like wind or solar power.
He recently said the province could soon be offering incentives to off-the-grid First Nations who want to get involved in clean energy projects.
In Fort Severn’s case, Kakekaspan said the community needs more energy as soon as possible, regardless of its source.
“We need to look at our source of power,” he said. “Our hydro capacity is at its limit. If we wanted to build a new building, it may not even be supported with hydro.”
Kakekaspan said the community is also looking at solar power.
“Our plan is to eventually create all our own power … and completely stop burning diesel,” Kakekaspan said.
The Honourable Michael Gravelle, Minister of Northern Development and Mines, announced today ...
McDowell Lake First Nation joins a growing number of remote First Nations in Ontarios far ...
Bringing Solar Energy to McDowell Lake ...
A meeting of the board in May 2015. ...