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Wind farm project launched

(COURTESY KAHNAWAKE SUSTAINABLE ENERGY)

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After overcoming many obstacles over the years, the Des Cultures Wind Farm Project finally broke ground on Monday (August 31).

And to mark the occasion, a sunrise ceremony took place at the project’s location in the municipalities of St. Remi and St. Michel.

The project was developed through a partnership between the Kahnawake Sustainable Energies (KSE), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tewatohnhi’ saktha, Kahnawake’s Economic Development Commission, and Kruger Energy Inc.

“For us, it was a long time coming, and certainly, we took a lot of pride and joy in that event,” said Bud Morris, the president of KSE.

“A lot of people had some concerns about whether the project would ever be built or come to fruition, and we have demonstrated that this project is on track. It is going to be built, and it’s going to benefit not only Kahnawake in terms of the financial resources that it will bring, but also the environment. We are very happy and excited and proud to be part of this project,” he continued.

The project will include the installation of six Enercon wind turbines with the capacity to generate 24 MW and representing an investment of approximately $70 million. The Des Cultures Wind Farm project is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2021.

According to the company’s website, Kruger Energy specializes in the development and management of green and renewable energy power plants.

“They (Kruger) own 49.9 percent of the project, and we own 51.1 percent of the project. We are responsible for putting 30 percent of the equity, and Kruger is responsible for putting 70 percent of the equity,” said Morris.

According to Morris, KSE has invested approximately $2.5 million in the project, which should cover all of KSE’s equity requirements. However, that figure is subject to the determination of the final costs.

The profit distribution will follow the same proportions as the equity, meaning KSE will receive 30 per cent and Kruger Energy 70 per cent.

“We are expected to generate approximately $1 million a year over a 20-year period; that number will be indexed to a consumer price index formula. And after the contract is expired at the end of the 20 years (2040), we will have an opportunity to sit back down with Hydro Quebec and see if there is a possibility to write a new contract to make benefit out of the useful life of turbines, which is at least another five years past that 20-year point,” said Morris.

The mayor of St. Remi, Sylvie Gagnon-Breton, and the mayor of St. Michel, Jean-Guy Hamelin, were in attendance at the groundbreaking, and both expressed their pride and support in the project.

“The location of the wind turbines harmonizes well with our landscape,” said Gagnon-Breton. “In addition, it promotes our economic activities, ensuring an additional source of income for our community, during the realization of this project and for the next 20 years,” she said.

The project will not only benefit Kahnawake and Kruger Energy, but it is estimated that the municipalities will receive approximately $3.6 million. Further, the lease payment to the landowners will be $3.3 million. The project is also expected to generate an increase in economic activities for local businesses estimated to be between $5 to $8 million.

The construction of the project will create 40 to 50 jobs and will be broken over two calendar years.

“We thrive on building new projects so we couldn’t be more excited to begin the construction of our fourth wind farm,” said Jean Roy, senior vice president and chief operating officer of Kruger Energy.

After its founding in 2010, KSE acquired an existing (wind energy) project from a developer in St-Cyprien-de-Napierville to build a wind farm. However, the community of St-Cyprien-de-Napierville was not welcoming of the project and in staging a protest, KSE was forced to relocate the project.

Kruger Energy owned the lease option to the land, and because they own an existing wind farm in the area, Morris said a partnership made sense.

“The mayors of St. Michel and St. Remi have been very welcoming; very positive relations. Kruger Energy has been great too. It’s a success story, it really is. We are hoping that maybe this could be a gateway to other projects for the community,” said Morris.

The construction of the project is slated to start next Monday.

“I think this is a project that the whole community should be proud of. The hope is that the community will take note that we need to explore and develop alternative energy and gravitate away from carbon-based energy,” said Morris.

“That is one of the reasons why we chose renewable energy. We want to have a positive impact on the environment.”

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