OTTAWA, May 6 /CNW Telbec/ - The Inuit community of Inukjuak located on the shores of northern Hudson's Bay has voted in support of replacing dirty diesel-generated electricity with clean hydro power.
"For the last 5 years we have been working hard to develop the Innavik Hydro Project", said Eric Atagotaaluk, President of the Pituvik Landholding Corporation (Pituvik). "Our people believe that clean energy is economic and environmentally-friendly, and Inuit leadership of the project can produce a range of social benefits for Inukjuak over the long term".
The Innavik Project is planned as a 7.5 Megawatt, run-of-river facility located 10 kilometers from the community, on the Inukjuak River. The site is located on Category 1 lands that are managed by Pituvik, under the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement (JBNQA) on behalf of Inuit and other residents of Inukjuak. Innavik, in Inuktitut means: a pouch in which one would keep a stone flint and moss to start a fire.
On March 22nd - 26th a formal vote on the project was held after several weeks of intensive consultations, information sessions, radio call-in shows and community meetings. 83.2% (540) of voters supported the project, and 17.8% (109) were opposed (5 ballots were spoiled). Of 914 total eligible voters in the community, 654, or 71.6%, cast ballots.
"We've made major investments in the Innavik Project, and done our homework", said Mr. Atagotaaluk. "We've followed a prudent, step-by-step process. First we conducted a review of potential hydro sites near the community. Then we completed a Pre-Feasibility Study of the Innavik Site". In the last 12 months, a comprehensive Feasibility Study and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) have been finalized. Bottom line, the project is technically feasible, can be developed while protecting the environment, and is economically-competitive relative to diesel fuel."
The project will also supply enough power to replace oil-based space and water heating, which is a real plus. Financial support for the project so far has been provided by Pituvik, project partners, and the government of Canada (Indian and Northern Affairs Canada and Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions) and the Kativik Regional Government.
Making the Innavik Project a reality requires an agreement with Hydro Quebec for the supply of power to the community. The provincial utility has the mandate to ensure that electricity supply is safe, reliable and cost-effective. Mr. Atagotaaluk emphasized: "Pituvik is very appreciative of Hydro Quebec's openness to consider the Innavik Project". He added: "The fact that hydro power is proven, and will reduce diesel fuel consumption and Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG), is totally supportive of the Quebec government's policies on northern development, climate change and sustainable development."
Pituvik is assembling the partnership to take the project forward. The highly-qualified Montreal-based engineering firm Groupe RSW has been on board since day one, as has Lumos Energy, Canada's principal clean energy advisor to Aboriginal communities.
"Financing the project will be a challenge", said Mr. Atagotaaluk. "We have been in discussions with Public Private Partnerships (P3) Canada to secure project financing, and are opening discussions with the government of Quebec and Makivik Corporation." The project will be implemented through a public-private partnership including an open bidding process. PLC Board members are presenting the project to an economic summit being hosted by Makivik Corporation in Kujuak, Quebec in early April, 2010.
The Pituvik Board of Directors made the following statement as it approved the Innavik project going to the construction stage based on the community vote. "The Inuit residents of Inukjuak believe that the Innavik Project is a smart, environmentally-friendly and economic, clean energy solution for our remote community. By making an investment in renewable hydro power, we will establish a stronger foundation for sustainable development for Inukjuak, and a better future for our children and grandchildren".
SOURCE LUMOS ENERGY
For further information: For further information: Pituvik Landholding Corporation - President: Eric Ataagolaluk, ERIC.ATAGOTAALUK@MESS.GOUV.QC.CA; Vice-President: Tommy Palliser, firstname.lastname@example.org; Secretary-Treasurer: Nancy Palliser Kalai, email@example.com; Directors: Abraham Kasudluak, Johnny Mina, Michael Kasudluak, Pauloosie Kasudluak; General Manager: Mike Carroll, firstname.lastname@example.org, Box 285, Inukjuak, QC, J0M 1M0, Tel: (819) 254-8101, Fax: (819) 254-8252; Lumos Energy - Chris Henderson, Tel: (613) 562-2005, Email: email@example.com