On Monday, Energy Minister Margaret McCuaig-Boyd, Environment Minister Shannon Phillips and Indigenous Relations Minister Richard Feehan and leaders of three Indigenous communities and TransAlta announced the next round of its renewable energy strategy.
Five projects have been approved near Fort Macleod, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat and Brooks thanks to partnerships with Indigenous communities.One of those communities, Blood-Kainai First Nation, Chief Roy Fox said they’are pleased to be a part of the green initiative.
“This is another opportunity that we feel that the creator has given us. He has provided wind in our traditional territory. We thought it would be good if we were business partners in taking advantage of this opportunity.”
The projects are expected to create 760 megawatts of electricity and will cost about 3.9 kilowatts per hour.
Minister Phillips said all Albertans will benefit from the projects especially the communities they’re collaborating with.
“For too long, Indigenous communities have been left out of the overall economic development benefits. With this program, we are making sure that as we build on our traditional strengths in the new economy that we also have new opportunities for Indigenous communities.”
Phillips said it will bring $1.2 billion of investment into the province and create 1,000 new jobs.
TransAlta CEO Dawn Farrell, who is helping build these projects, said it includes hiring Calgary workers.
“All these wind farms have to be financed; they need legal agreements. There’s all sorts of errand work, construction work. There will be on the ground jobs for sure down in Southern Alberta and all over the province where the wind farms are.”
The projects are set to begin construction in 2020 with completion slated for 2021.