By Robin MacLennan
Ontario Construction Report staff writer
An electricity battery storage facility expected to be the largest in Canada is set to open in two years on Indigenous land in southwestern Ontario, with Six Nations of the Grand River and Ottawa as investors.
Construction of the project will put $50 million into the community and the workforce is 97 per cent Indigenous.
The A6N Utilities construction team is a joint venture between SNGRDC and Aecon, which operates with a 95 per cent Indigenous workforce.
“I’m thrilled to see so many great partners come together to build this world-class project that will provide affordable, clean energy for generations to come,” said Premier Doug Ford. “With a growing population and as we secure game-changing investments in our economy, our government is supporting innovative and bold energy solutions to meet the increasing demand for power, including battery storage and small modular reactors.”
The Independent Electricity System Operator signed a 20-year deal with the Oneida Energy storage project as part of its push for more clean energy supply.
“Today’s announcement is one way in which we are doing our part to create a sustainable future, reducing emissions, as well as providing reliable source of green energy for the benefit of all of our families,” said Six Nations Chief Mark B. Hill at a news conference in Ohsweken.
The project, which has been in development for years and is currently under construction, is set to begin operating in 2025 and will more than double the province’s available clean energy storage.
Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corporation is an investor.
“There’s going to be an economic return and those economic returns will go a long way to help plug things that are important to our community,” said CEO, Matt Jamieson. “Right now, we are facing a $1.6 billion infrastructure gap in our community. We can’t wait for funding from federal transfer payments, and we need to take control of our destiny and this is one example of how we can do that.”
NRStore, Northland Power, Aecon and Tesla are partners in the venture along with the federal government.
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said Ottawa is investing $50 million more in addition to the $170 million in funding from the Canada Infrastructure Bank to build the “largest battery storage project in Canada and one of the largest in the whole world.”
“This project is going to help create great jobs for people in Ontario,” Freeland said.
“It will store and supply the clean electricity that our province needs, and it will help create economic opportunities for Indigenous communities like Six Nations.”
Ontario Premier Doug Ford said the project will store up to 250 megawatts of electricity.
“It will more than double our province’s energy storage resources, and will provide enough electricity to power a city approximately the size of Oshawa,” he said.
The city east of Toronto has a population of 175,000.
The province is facing an energy crunch with demand quickly rising due to the proliferation of electric vehicles and increased manufacturer’s needs.