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Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson speaks to a crowd at a luncheon hosted by the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce on February 28 2023

Feds invest $35 million for Armstrong area co-gen plant

By Adam Riley Feb 28, 2023 | 5:20 PM

The federal government is investing $35 million towards creating a microgrid in the Armstrong area through a collaboration that has been 15 years in the making with the Whitesand First Nation.

The project will consist of a new heat and power facility that will use locally sourced wood to produce energy for the Whitesand First Nation, Armstrong and Collins, removing their reliance upon diesel fuel.

Federal Natural Resources minister Jonathan Wilkinson made the announcement in Thunder Bay, at an event hosted by the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce, he says the project will have many positive long term impacts.

“Its a project that will be First Nations led, will create economic benefits, will create employment benefits and is actually going to help us in our fight against climate change.”

The project consists of a biomass power generation facility which will use wood sourced from the area.

In addition to powering the three communities, the clean energy generated will also power a new wood pellet plant and a fully electric wood merchandising yard.

Whitesand Chief Allan Gustafson says all the elements of the project, once operational, will be a game changer for the area.

“This will help us big time, with the bio mass, the pellets. The back up would be fuel, but it will be the pellets and the co-gen that will help the community.”

Hundreds of jobs are expected to be created during construction, along with 120 local jobs for operations at the facility once operational.

Chamber of Commerce President Charla Robinson notes with the closest hub being Thunder Bay, economic opportunities will present themselves.

“It will likely be Thunder Bay businesses that are doing the construction, providing the supplies and the services, through that construction process and then even servicing it once its actually into operation.”

Armstrong and the Whitesand First Nation are located 256km north of Thunder Bay, Collins is a community accessible only by float plane or rail located 28km west of Armstrong.

 

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