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Mnidoo Mnising–Northland Pact Allows Lake Huron Wind Farm

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In a move that highlights ways in which partnerships can work between aboriginal citizens and outside companies, the United Chief and Councils of Mnidoo Mnising (UCCMM) under the auspices of Mnidoo Mnising Power (MMP) have contracted with Canadian utility Northland Power to build a wind power farm on Lake Huron Island.

"The United Chiefs and Councils of Mnidoo Mnising are committed to the thoughtful and responsible development of our natural resources, where our families' needs are addressed and that provides a better future for our young people," said Tribal Chair Chief Chief Shining Turtle in a February 11 statement from the two parties. "Our shared ownership with Northland Power is an important model of how First Nations can work closely with the private sector and government on something that both benefits our people and supports the Province of Ontario's leadership in renewable energy."

Northland Project Manager Gordon Potts told the renewable-energy news site Recharge News that initial site preparation on the 60-megawatt wind farm on McLean’s Mountain could begin this summer.

Northland says it has been collecting wind data since 2003 and has multiple meteorological towers on the 2,000-hectare site.

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“We expect the project to qualify under Ontario’s feed-in tariff for renewable energy,” the company says on its site.

MMC was established by UCCMM, a consortium of tribes on and around Manitoulin Island in Ontario whose members include the First Nations of M'Chigeeng, Sheguiandah, Sheshegwaning, Aundeck-Omni-Kaning, Whitefish River and Zhiibaahaasing, the release stated. It was formed specifically to give the nations a say in wind power and other renewable-energy projects, which “down the road may include solar, hydro, gas or electrical infrastructure projects,” the council said in the statement.

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