Six Nations energy storage partnership to benefit future generations

SIX NATIONS OF THE GRAND-The Oneida Energy Storage Project (OES) is another step closer to providing energy storage in the province.

The project received support from Six Nations Elected Council (SNEC) after the Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corporation (SNGRDC) submitted a Community Investment and Final Review Report on April 30, 2021.

Elected Chief Mark Hill said it will benefit future generations.

“The Oneida Energy Storage project will offer the community employment through not only the construction and maintenance of the facility, but through its management of day-to-day operations. Our students will benefit from further educational and co-op opportunities while reducing the impact of greenhouse gases for future generations,” he said.

The investment review and online community engagement sessions were a part of the SNGRDC’s transparency and accountability to community to find out if there was support or opposition for going ahead with the battery storage project.

SNGRDC is the co-developer of the project and a 50:50 partner with NRStor Inc., a leader in energy storage solutions and have been working on the project for three years.

A press release issued by SNGRDC said they decided to move forward with the project on a  recommendation by the SNGRDC Governance Group “following extensive project due diligence and the completion of a community-wide engagement.”

Matt Jamieson, president and CEO of SNGRDC said employment opportunities will be available for Six Nation community members.

“As a developing partner, SNGRDC has been able to communicate and action key project considerations which include the location of the project, creation of internship opportunities, and ensuring significant employment opportunities are fulfilled by our Community members,” he said.

SNGRDC and NRStor do not have a contract with Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), but they continue to work with the provincial government to advance the OES “through review and prospective commercial agreement, as requested by the Minister of Energy on February 22, 2021.”

If a contract does not go through the project will not happen. If the SNGRDC do successfully procure a contract the OES project still needs financing for the construction to go ahead. The facility will be on a10-acre parcel of land owned by Infrastructure Ontario, which is already designated for energy grid expansion and is not on the Haldimand Tract.

In February 2021, SNGRDC and NRStor signed a memorandum of understanding with the Canada Infrastructure Bank to look at ways to support the OES and get the project going.

The press release says the project is the first of its kind in the country and “signals a new path forward that is inclusive Indigenous partnerships while pursing broader climate and reconciliation goals.” The 250 MW battery storage facility hopes to harness energy from the grid during off-peak times, store and put it back into the grid as clean energy during peak times when the province is short on electricity. The OES hopes to provide this to improve the grid efficiency and reduce 4.1 million tonnes of greenhouse gas.

The project hopes to place Six Nations on a global stage because as an Indigenous nation they are taking significant steps toward dealing with climate change.

Jason Rioux, President Oneida Energy Storage LP said the process of getting the OES to where it has been a great learning experience.

“Being a part of this project has been incredible. Through this process, we have learned much about working with the indigenous community and have built some strong partnerships. I look forward to growing these relationships as the Oneida Energy Storage project develops,” he said.

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