Pesakastew Solar Project

The Pesakastew Solar Project is a 10MW solar farm in development in the municipality of Weyburn, Saskatchewan, approximately 4 km southwest of the city of Weyburn. The project is set to be constructed and in commission by 2020, supplying clean energy to the Saskatchewan electrical grid. http://www.pesakastewsolarproject.ca/

The Pesakastew Solar Project is a Limited Partnership between the George Gordon Developments Ltd., Red Dog Holdings Ltd and Natural Forces.

George Gordon Developments Ltd. (GGDL) is the economic branch of the George Gordon First Nation. GGDL has assembled the capacity and capability to successfully enter high quality bids on major resource development projects with renowned North American Companies. http://www.ggdevelopments.com/

Red Dog Holdings Ltd. (RDHL) is the economic branch of the Star Blanket Cree Nation. One of the main goals of RDHL is to develop long term partnerships with companies that have shared values and objectives whilst providing opportunities for sustainable employment, training, wealth creation, and community development. https://www.reddogholdingsltd.com/

Natural Forces is a private independent power producer that delivers renewable energy projects in partnership with local communities. They develop, construct, own, and operate wind, solar, and hydro projects with First Nation communities, universities, municipalities, and local community funds. https://www.naturalforces.ca/

Wicehtowak Workforce Development (WWFD) program supplies the man power/labor force for the George Gordon Developments Ltd. WWFD program currently has 6 clients from George Gordon First Nation working at the 10MW Solar farm 4km southwest of Weyburn. https://ggfn.ca/wicehtowak-workforce-development-program/

George Gordon First Nation members, and employees of the Pesakastew Solar Project Brandon Assoon and Nicole Longman
far left: George Gordon First Nation members’ Kklyan Longman (employee of Wicehtowak Rising Edge), and Pesakastew Solar Project employees Travis Morris, Rachel Longman, Brad Bitternose

GGDL News

SaskPower signs solar project deal with First Nations group

REGINA — SaskPower has inked two power purchase agreements for two 10-megawatt (MW) solar projects with the First Nations Power Authority (FNPA).

The two projects will be built near Weyburn and Regina. The projects will generate revenue for First Nations and be able to power 5,000 Saskatchewan homes.

The FNPA is the sole Indigenous non-profit developing power projects with Indigenous communities in all of North America.

“Indigenous procurement is a priority for SaskPower, and we are pleased to be able to build on our already strong relationship with FNPA to finalize these two power purchase agreements,” said Mike Marsh, SaskPower president and CEO, in a statement. “These projects are a crucial step toward achieving SaskPower’s short-term goal of adding 60 MW of solar generating capacity to the provincial grid.”

Pesâkâstêw Solar, a partnership between George Gordon First Nation, Star Blanket Cree Nation and Natural Forces, will develop, own and operate the 10 MW solar project near Weyburn.

“On behalf of George Gordon First Nation we are proud to add our name to this exciting project,” said George Gordon First Nation Chief Byron Bitternose. “After a lot of hard work from our business arm, George Gordon Developments Limited, we are confident our Pesâkâstêw Solar Project will create employment and revenue generation opportunities for our First Nations members.”

The second project near Regina will be owned, developed and operated by Awasis Solar, a partnership between Cowessess First Nation and Elemental Energy.

“Cowessess First Nation has been on our renewable energy journey for a decade – we have an existing one MW wind, solar and battery facility, and we are currently installing 320 kW of solar on five community buildings back home,” said Cowessess Chief Cadmus Delorme. “The development of our small-scale projects has allowed our team to gain expertise in the sector, and we are now ready to embrace our first utility scale energy project.”

The exact timing of the projects has yet to be finalized as engineering work is still being done.

Indigenous Community-Based Climate Monitoring Forum

in front of FNUC

The first Indigenous Community-Based Climate Monitoring Forum was held from March 28-30, 2019, on Treaty Four territory at First Nations University of Canada in Regina, SK.  This forum, organized by Wicehtowak Limnos Consulting Services Ltd., was held in response to the enthusiastic feedback from many groups working with the Indigenous Community-Based Climate Monitoring Program offered through the Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada branch of the Government of Canada.  This program offers funding opportunities for First Nations and Métis communities to establish baseline data, monitor trends in a variety of environmental measurements and increase environmental awareness under a changing climate.

David Fortin

Over 60 attendees participated in the forum, including First Nation and Métis representatives from across the prairie provinces, as well as government and university researchers. Each day began with a pipe ceremony in the First Nations University tipi, which was then followed by presentations and workshops with the aim to increase communication among communities and allow for the sharing of best practices, and the dissemination of challenges, successes, and milestones.

Given the diversity of climate-based concerns across such a wide geographical area, and the different world views of the participants, a wide range of topics were discussed.  Workshops focussed on monitoring options for snow, ice, and permafrost, freshwater monitoring, weather stations, and wildlife and vegetation surveys.  Beyond the technical component of how to measure, additional workshops were offered that addressed issues of community engagement, blending multiple ways of knowing, and engaging Indigenous youth in STEM.