This is first such partnership for OPG and paves a path forward for a new way of doing business according to OPG Chairman Jake Epp.
"Today we made history. OPG will use this approach to develop similar projects with other First Nations and we've created a new way of growing our business. We're moving towards a future where development of clean, renewable hydroelectric projects proceeds in way that is fair to all parties and is based on trust and respect," Epp said.
Chief Clifford Bull of the Lac Seul First Nation noted that all parties should take pride in the announcement.
"This is a proud day for my people, and myself.
It marks the end of an era when our rights and our history were ignored and launches an era where we're treated as equals," he said.
"This is a valuable partnership and a significant step forward to ensuring Ontario's First Nations can fully participate in responsibly developing our shared resources," said George Smitherman, Deputy Premier and Minister of Energy and Infrastructure. "In addition to providing clean, green power for our province, this new generating station will benefit the Lac Seul First Nation through revenues that will help to enhance the future sustainability of their community. I look forward to a future where First Nations partnerships with energy generators are considered the norm and not 'historic'.
The partnership stemmed from a past grievance settlement reached in 2006.
The settlement addressed the impact of hydroelectric facilities that were built on traditional lands of the Lac Seul First Nation on the English River system between 1930 and 1948.
The equity partnership will see the Lac Seul First Nation purchase a 25 per cent share of the 12.5 MW Lac Seul Generating Station, which will be in service in early 2009. The station will generate enough electricity to meet the annual needs of 5,000 homes. All future profits and risks will be shared by OPG and the First Nation.
The new station, adjacent to the Ear Falls Generating Station, will have dual names, one Ojibway, the other English. The Ojibway name will be Obishikokaang Waasiganikewigamig. The first part means White Pine Narrows - the original Ojibway name of the area - and the second part means electricity generating building. The English name will be Lac Seul Generating Station.