Edmonton

Alberta government backstops 6 First Nations on investment in $1.5B power plant near Edson

The Alberta government is backing six First Nations that are part of a consortium building a $1.5-billion natural gas power plant near Edson with $93 million in loan guarantees.

'This is a great day for Alberta and for Indigenous communities in our province'

A mock up of the $1.5-billion Cascade Power Project near Edson which will take three years to build. (Alberta Government)

The Alberta government will provide $93 million in loan guarantees to six First Nations that are part of a consortium building a $1.5-billion natural gas power plant near Edson.

"This is a great day for Alberta and for Indigenous communities in our province," Premier Jason Kenney said at a news conference west of Edmonton on Wednesday. "This is an historic moment, an announcement heralding a major advance of Indigenous investment and partnership in the development of Alberta natural resource sector."

The newly created Alberta Indigenous Opportunities Corporation brought together the Alexis Nakota Sioux, Enoch Cree, Keheewin, Whitefish Lake, O'Chiese, and Paul First Nations along with OPTrust, which manages one the country's largest pension funds.

"Revenues for the First Nation investors ... are forecast to total hundreds of millions of dollars over the 30 years of the project," Kenney said.

The deal "ensures a reasonable level of risk for taxpayers and a reasonable level of equity and cash flow for the First Nations," he said. "It's a win win."

Construction on the $1.5-billion Cascade Power Project, a 900-megawatt power generation facility 12 kilometres southwest of Edson, will begin immediately, with commercial operations commencing in 2023.

The project, located on Crown land, will have the capacity to supply more than eight per cent of the province's average electricity demand. 

The facility is expected to take three years to build, and employ 600 workers at the peak of construction. Once operations begin, 25 direct, long-term skilled jobs will be created in the community.

Canada-based power projects developer Kineticor Resource received key approvals for the plant in February.

Kineticor is developing the combined-cycle power plant in collaboration with OPTrust and Macquarie Capital.

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