“In the past century, everything was built around us with little consultation, collaboration or inclusion,” says Matt Jamieson, President and CEO of Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corporation (SNGRDC).
“Now, through Indigenous participation [in the clean energy sector],” he adds, “we have an opportunity to embrace our collective responsibility to do what’s right for our future generations.”
When looking to refinance their stake in the Niagara Wind Farm, SNGRDC sought a banking partner that understood their goal to optimize the economic returns for their community. Vancity Community Investment Bank (VCIB) was “very flexible in working with us to arrive at the outcome we were pursuing,” Jamieson notes.
VCIB, a Vancity subsidiary, has a strong desire to embrace Indigenous business, and we approach all partnerships with an impact lens to boost our collective impact.
The VCIB-SNGRDC partnership resulted in a $32.5-million loan, which was locked in at a more favourable interest rate. By refinancing the Niagara Region Wind Farm, SNGRDC freed up $400,000 in additional profits per year – money that will flow straight into the community.
The wind farm is one of many sources of sustainable income benefiting the Haudenosaunee peoples of Six Nations. Since 2016, SNGRDC has been able to contribute over $14 million to the Economic Development Trust(EDT). The EDT has reinvested the $14 million into critical infrastructure and programs. Revenues have been used to purchase new fire trucks, extend waterlines, improve and redevelop elders’ homes, and support life-saving mental health, family and suicide prevention programs.
The Niagara Region Wind Farm, with 77 turbines installed across beautiful, rolling hills in southern Ontario, is the second-largest wind farm in the province. The project sends nearly 1,400 megawatts of clean electricity to Ontario’s power grid. The “rights and interests of our people are very closely aligned with the clean energy economy,” Jamieson says.
Next up, SNGRDC is co-developing a 250-megawatt, 1,000 megawatt-hour battery storage facility that will be Canada’s biggest when complete, delivering 4.1 million tonnes of greenhouse gas reductions. Hear more from Matt Jamieson about how renewables are powering Indigenous self-determination on Canada’s path to net-zero.
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