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Alberta

Hydro-Québec takes partnerships, environmental measures and sharing of wealth to new levels

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The Canadian Energy Compendium is an annual Energy Council of Canada initiative which provides opportunity for cross-sectoral collaboration on a topic of shared interest across the Canadian energy sector, produced with the support of Canada’s national energy associations and Energy Council of Canada’s members. The stories contributed to the 2019 edition, Indigenous Energy Across Canada, highlight current conversations celebrating Canada’s dynamic energy sector and encouraging its continuous improvement.

Thanks to Todayville for helping us bring our members’ stories of collaboration and innovation to the public.

Click to read a Foreward from JP Gladu, Chief Development and Relations Officer, Steel River Group; Former President & CEO, Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business

JP Gladu, Chief Development and Relations Officer, Steel
River Group; Former President & CEO, Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business

THE THIRD PHASE OF JAMES BAY DEVELOPMENT: TAKING PARTNERSHIPS, ENVIRONMENTAL MEASURES AND SHARING OF WEALTH TO NEW LEVELS

This article, submitted by Hydro-Québec, will focus on the development of the third phase of the James Bay complex, namely the generating stations namely the Eastmain-1 and Eastmain-1A/Sarcelle/Rupert project. Emphasis will be placed on the development of a new relationship with the Cree that led to an improved project development model.

The Eastmain Complex, the most recent of the James Bay hydroelectric development: Taking partnerships, environmental measures and sharing of wealth to new levels.

When the initial phases of hydropower development in the Baie-James region of Québec was launched in the 1970s, there was no law on the environment, no environmental ministries and no environmental impact assessment process. So consulting affected communities wasn’t on anyone’s agenda and wasn’t yet part of Hydro-Québec’s approach. In the new millennium, with a new phase of development in this region, close-knit partnerships with the Cree Nation have become the cornerstone of project development throughout Québec.

Nadoshtin and Boumhounan agreements paved the way to new developments in Baie-James in the 2000s

The Nadoshtin agreement (2002) between the Crees and Hydro-Québec opened up the possibility of building and operating the Eastmain-1 hydropower project, while the Boumhounan agreement (2002) provided a framework for the Eastmain 1- A/Sarcelle/Rupert project. The key to success for the Eastmain projects was partially diverting the Rupert River’s flow northward.

But Hydro-Québec’s commercial interest in this new project had to be balanced by clear and extensive measures to preserve the surrounding environment and respect host Cree Nation and Cree communities.

In the framework of the Eastmain-1 project, Hydro-Québec made a number of commitments with a view to

  • reduce the project’s impacts on the environment
  • protect the Cree way of life and encourage partnerships with the Cree communities
  • encourage the awarding of contracts to Cree businesses
  • promote the training and hiring of Cree workers.
  • built local capacity

“…The company wanted to do more than minimize environmental impact; Hydro-Québec wanted community members to see positive gains from the Eastmain developments…”

From the design stage, which was carried out in concert with the Cree, the Eastmain 1-A/Sarcelle/Rupert project incorporated many environmental protection measures, reflecting the Cree traditional knowledge of the community members they consulted. The Cree of Québec were involved in all stages of the project, ensuring they had a voice in how their land would be impacted.

Photo courtesy Hydro-Québec. Yellow sturgeon are raised in a fish hatchery and released into their natural habitat in mid-September, when they have reached a certain maturity. Cree tallymen assist in releasing the fish into the Rupert River in the Baie-James region.

With input from Cree community members, Hydro-Québec devised a combination of dikes and canals to improve water flow, ensuring that the project, which diverts 71% of the river’s flow, flooded only a minimal land area. They also incorporated a substantial ecological in-stream flow and a series of weirs in the river to protect fish habitats, biological diversity, preserve the landscape, and maintain navigation and other activities in the area.

Furthermore, Hydro-Québec signed an unprecedented water management agreement with the Cree to ensure that the modulation of the ecological in-stream flow was managed in a cooperative manner.

Economic spinoffs

In addition to helping preserve the local environment, Hydro-Québec was committed to bringing growth opportunities to the Cree of Québec. The company wanted to do more than minimize environmental impact; Hydro-Québec wanted community members to see positive gains from the Eastmain developments.

Under the Boumhounan Agreement, an extensive participation program built around information and consultation with Cree stakeholders was put in place. It also made funds available for the Cree to finance fisheries, capacity building and traditional activities projects.

When the Eastmain 1A/Rupert diversion project was completed in 2013, the Cree and Hydro-Québec signed the Reappropriation Agreement, giving Cree land users the necessary support to maintain their traditional activities as long as the Rupert River diversion is in operation.

Post-project consultations: ensuring that measures were effective

The COMEX, a joint committee composed of 3 members appointed by the Government Quebec and 2 members appointed by the Cree Nation government, organized consultations with Cree communities to hear their views on the effectiveness of environmental and social mitigation measures put in place for the Eastmain 1A/Rupert diversion project. Approximately 200 members of the Cree Nation from six communities participated in the consultations organized in November 2012.

Photo courtesy Hydro-Québec. Between 2002 and 2005, prior to the impoundment of the Eastmain-1 reservoir, 50 archeologists and Cree workers undertook archeological digs. They discovered 158 sites and their work shows that the Baie-James territory has been occupied by these populations for the last 5,000 years.

The major findings of the COMEX were as follows:

  • […]”the Committee is convinced that the Eastmain-1-A and Sarcelle Powerhouses and Rupert Diversion Project will have contributed to greater understanding between all the parties concerned, to greater Cree involvement in the development of the territory, and perhaps to empowering them to achieve their long- term economic and community development goals.”
  • “Compared to previous projects carried out in the territory, the Eastmain-1- A/Sarcelle/Rupert project included more adequate and an unprecedented number of mitigation and compensation measures, for both environmental and social impacts. Many of these measures are aimed at helping Cree land users reclaim the territory. A new approach was developed and the Crees have benefited from the partnerships built with the proponent, thereby forging a new relationship.”
  • “Hydro-Québec was proactive, exceeding the requirements of the certificate of authorization in an effort to minimize the project’s impacts and ensure greater Cree involvement in environmental and social follow-up activities.”
  • “Hydro-Québec went to great lengths to ensure that Aboriginal communities derive benefit from the project.”

A new project development model

The Eastmain Complex – the most recent phase of development in Baie-James – added a potential energy output of 8.7 TWh per year, enough to power more than 500,000 Québec homes. The new relationships that Hydro-Québec and the Cree Nation developed over that period have become models for future energy resource development throughout Québec. With considerable untapped hydropower potential and a strong wind potential in Québec, Hydro-Québec’s new and improved project development model holds great promise for the future of clean energy in northeast North America.

Jacob Irving, President of Energy Council of Canada

The Canadian Energy Compendium is an annual initiative by the Energy Council of Canada to provide an opportunity for cross-sectoral collaboration and discussion on current topics in Canada’s energy sector.  The 2020 Canadian Energy Compendium: Innovations in Energy Efficiency is due to be released November 2020.

Click to read comments about this series from Jacob Irving, President of the Energy Council of Canada.

Read more on Todayville.

 

 

The Energy Council of Canada brings together a diverse body of members, including voices from all energy industries, associations, and levels of government within Canada. We foster dialogue, strategic thinking, collaboration, and action by bringing together senior energy executives from all industries in the public and private sectors to address national, continental, and international energy issues.

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Alberta

Saskatchewan Roughriders avoid season sweep in downing Calgary Stampeders 20-17

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CALGARY — The Saskatchewan Roughriders avoided a third consecutive loss to the Stampeders with a 20-17 win Saturday in Calgary.

By a quirk of the CFL schedule, Calgary is the only opponent the Roughriders have played so far in October interrupted only by a bye week.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers hammering the B.C. Lions 45-0 in another West Division game Saturday to get to 10-1 means the defending Grey Cup champions will host the division final Dec. 5.

Saskatchewan (6-4), Calgary (5-6) and the Lions (4-6) are in a race to have the Nov. 28 division semifinal in their stadiums, while the Edmonton Elks (2-7) languish in the basement.

The Stampeders took two games off Saskatchewan in early October to secure the season series. Calgary would rank higher in the standings in the event of a tie between the two clubs at the end of the regular season.

Trailing 10-6 at halftime Saturday, the Roughriders rallied with a pair of second-half touchdowns in front of an announced 21,672 at McMahon Stadium.

Roughriders quarterback Cody Fajardo completed 21-of-26 pass attempts for 222 yards. He threw touchdown passes to Brayden Lenius and Kyran Moore and was intercepted once.

Saskatchewan kicker Brett Lauther kicked field goals from 48 and 52 yards, but missed from 54 and 44 yards.

Fajardo earned his first career victory against the Stampeders as did Craig Dickenson as Saskatchewan’s head coach.

Quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell was 21 for 31 in passing Saturday to become the Stampeders’ leader in all-time completions.

The 31-year-old Texan needed just two Saturday to surpass previous leader Henry Burris (2,267), and he produced them on Calgary’s opening drive.

Mitchell threw for 311 yards to be 14 shy of a career 30,000.

Two of his three interceptions occurred in Saturday’s second half, however, when Mitchell was also sacked four times.

Ka’Deem Carey scored a rushing touchdown, Richie Sindani made a touchdown catch and Rene Paredes kicked a 12-yard field goal for Calgary.

With just under two minutes remaining in the game, Mitchell’s 44-yard bomb to Shawn Bane put the hosts on Saskatchewan’s 24-yard-line .

A four-yard scoring throw to Sindani on the goal-line, plus the convert, had the Stampeders trailing by a field goal with 48 seconds remaining.

Calgary’s attempt to recover an onside kick failed, however, on a leaping grab by Saskatchewan’s Duke Williams. The Stampeders had the ball for one final drive, but didn’t score again.

Saskatchewan’s Jeremy Clark ran an interception back to Calgary’s 13-yard line on the final play of the third quarter. On a third-and-goal, Fajardo threw to Moore in the end zone for a 20-10 lead.

The Roughriders led for the first time in the game midway through the third when Fajardo found Lenius in the end zone with a 13-yard pass.

Isaac Adeyemi-Berglund fumbled a return in the first half’s final seconds for Saskatchewan to recover. Lauther was wide on a 44-yard attempt, however, after success from 52 out on Saskatchewan’s previous drive.

Carey’s one-yard scoring plunge finished a 12-play, 92-yard drive in the second quarter.

Calgary’s march downfield featured Kamar Jorden’s acrobatic grab for a 31-yard reception to get to Saskatchewan’s doorstep.

Lauther kicked a 48-yard field goal on the final play of the opening quarter for a 3-3 score. He then missed a 54-yard attempt early in the second quarter.

Saskatchewan didn’t take advantage of a Jacob Dearborn interception early in the first quarter. A subsequent fumble on a snap gave Calgary the ball back on their own 27-yard line.

Calgary converted a Branden Dozier interception on Saskatchewan’s opening drive of the game into a 12-yard field goal by Paredes.

Notes: D’haquille “Duke” Williams compiled 48 receiving yards on three catches in his Roughriders debut. The former CFL all-star with Edmonton spent the last two seasons with the NFL’s Buffalo Bills . . . Stampeder defensive end Folarin Orimolade sacked Fajardo twice after missing seven games with an ankle injury.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 23, 2021

Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Alberta government says jobs, economy, COVID to be focus of fall legislature sitting

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EDMONTON — The Alberta government plans a busy fall legislature sitting aimed at adding jobs and diversifying the economy while focusing on tamping down the renewed surge of COVID-19.

Government house leader Jason Nixon says this will include proposed legislation on recognizing professional credentials to address labour shortages. The bill will be introduced by Premier Jason Kenney.

“Our focus will be on Alberta’s workforce, a couple of bills around diversifying the economy, a big focus on building infrastructure for our future, (and) growing our resources, particularly on the energy side,” Nixon said in an interview Friday.

There will also be new initiatives on environmental protection and conservation.

Nixon said there will be 18 to 20 bills for the sitting, which begins Monday and is scheduled to run to the first week of December. 

“It’s a very robust fall agenda,” he said.

Nixon said the government will continue to take steps to reduce COVID-19 cases, which have severely stressed the health system.

No COVID-19-specific bills are planned, he said, noting they were passed in previous sittings. 

“There’s certainly other stuff to be done to manage the pandemic … but we’ll stand ready if Alberta Health needs us to pass any legislation to deal with the pandemic.”

He said debate in the chamber is expected to return to some semblance of normalcy.

In the spring sitting, both the United Conservative government and the Opposition NDP reduced their numbers in the chamber to prevent the spread of the virus. 

This time, with all NDP members and all but one on the UCP side vaccinated, all will be allowed back in for debate.

The lone UCP member has a medical exemption and will be tested regularly, said Nixon.

He said there are still masking rules and members will try to maintain distancing where possible.

The NDP said it plans to hold the government accountable for what went disastrously wrong on COVID-19.

“This fall sitting of the legislature will be laser-focused on getting answers from the UCP on why they’ve failed Albertans so miserably in managing the devastating fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Christina Gray, the NDP house leader.

“Since July 15, more than 85,000 additional Albertans have been infected with the virus and 700 have died.”

Gray said the NDP will call for an all-party inquiry into the government’s handling of the pandemic with the power to compel documents and testimony.

Nixon said the government will not agree to such a motion. He said it would be wrong to redeploy vital health resources right now and that Kenney has promised an eventual review of how the province handled the pandemic.

Kenney has also promised to bring forward a motion to ratify and act on the results of Monday’s provincewide referendum on Canada’s equalization program.

Final results aren’t in from Edmonton, but figures from Calgary and other cities suggest the referendum will pass with about 60 per cent in support of urging the federal government to remove the principle of equalization from the Constitution.

Kenney has said the issue is not about removing equalization, something no province can do unilaterally, but about getting leverage to negotiate other issues surrounding federal transfers to attain a better deal with Ottawa.

Political scientist Jared Wesley said Kenney will likely continue to focus on initiatives such as the equalization referendum, if only to change the narrative on his low popularity ratings.

“The premier will be spending most of his time, if he has anything to say about it, outside the province, stumping for this fair deal,” said Wesley, with the University of Alberta.

COVID-19 numbers have been trending down in recent weeks. But Kenney and Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province’s chief medical officer of health, say the situation remains precarious.

On Friday, there were just over 10,000 active COVID-19 cases in Alberta. And there were 191 COVID-19 patients in intensive care. 

Alberta’s fourth wave troubles began after Kenney lifted almost all COVID-19 related health restrictions as of July 1, boasting that the pandemic had moved to the “endemic” phase and there was no need to plan for a renewed case surge.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 22, 2021.

Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press

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