Gull Bay First Nation on Lake Nipigon will host what’s being billed as Canada’s first fully-integrated solar energy-storage system in a remote community.
Kiashke Zaaging Anishinaabek (KZA) and Ontario Power Generation (OPG) are jointly developing a microgrid that will use solar, battery storage and grid technology to help reduce diesel use at Gull Bay.
At the project launch at Gull Bay on Tuesday, OPG said the system will integrate renewable energy with the diesel generators that currently supply the community’s entire energy needs.
OPG will manage the contractors and oversee the design, construction and commissioning of the microgrid, with construction expected to start this spring.
Once operational by the end of the year, KZA will assume ownership and will operate the microgrid.
Gull Bay Chief Wilfred King calls the project “a game-changer.” He said it will replace thousands of litres of “dirty” diesel fuel with clean solar power.
King thanked OPG and the Ontario and federal governments for partnering with his community.
The $8 million venture is supported by a $2.5 million investment from the province.
Officials said that during daylight hours 100 per cent of Gull Bay’s energy needs will come from 300 solar panels laid out over a 20-hectare site. At night and during the winter months diesel power will be available.
According to OPG, the microgrid system will be the corporation’s fifth development project with an Ontario Indigenous community.
One of the other projects is a generating station built in partnership with the Lac Seul First Nation.
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